This article is the second look at why I’m encouraging you to eat clean meat. As always, I hope you’ll use this information to help you create a healthy life for you and you family.
You sit down to dinner with a friend. Your friend gets a cheeseburger. You decide to go healthy and order salmon. But wait! There may well be hidden ingredients in your meals. There’s a chance you’re both getting an unwanted dose of antibiotics!
Farmers have been giving antibiotics to animals for years. Did you know that these antibiotics are NOT primarily used to treat diseases?
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Farmers feed small doses of antibiotics to healthy animals to make the animals grow larger. (Scientists are not certain what exactly causes the weight gain.) Eight times as many antibiotics are given each year to healthy farm animals than are used to treat all the sick people in the United States!
So what happens when healthy animals are given antibiotics?
There’s been growing concern that this practice, along with many doctors’ overuse of antibiotics, is leading to increasing levels of drug-resistant bacteria.
Some of the antibiotics given to food animals for growth are also being used to treat humans. Over time, the bacteria in these animals become resistant to the drug. Should people consume the bacteria in undercooked meat and become ill, they may not respond to the antibiotics generally used to treat them.
The FDA and doctors agree that the overuse of Baytril, a powerful antibiotic used to treat sick birds, causes drug-resistant bacterial infections in people. Bacteria resistant to Baytril and other similar drugs were extremely rare until the FDA approved their use in poultry.
This may be partly because when farmers discover one sick chicken, they treat their entire flock (sick or not) by adding the antibiotic to the drinking water.
Because Baytril is similar to an antibiotic used to treat and prevent Anthrax and other food-borne illnesses in people, the FDA and many doctors have insisted it no longer be used to treat farm animals. (While one maker of these antibiotics voluntarily withdrew its product, Bayer, the maker of Cipro, refused.)
The World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, and many others insist that farmers phase out the routine feeding of medically important antibiotics to healthy farm animals. I absolutely support this effort!
They also encourage people to take responsibility for their antibiotics use: Use antibiotics only to treat bacterial infections (antibiotics do nothing for viruses, such as the flu or colds) and if you must take them, finish the full course prescribed. The healthiest method is to choose an antibiotic-alternative that doesn’t have side effects; many of you have already taken Whole System Thymus, Gt, System Formula #3, Immuplex, and others from my clinic. Getting tested with Applied Kinesiology to determine which herbal formula will best resolve your infection helps tremendously.
Another wise choice is to buy antibiotic-free meat and poultry, available at Whole Foods, Central Markets, and some other supermarkets.
- Look for foods labeled “NO ANTIBIOTICS,” which means the farmer has provided documentation to the USDA that the animals were raised without antibiotics.
- Buy wild fish when possible. Many farm-raised fish (such as salmon, carp, and trout) are given antibiotics. (U.S. fish farmers who apply conventional methods use between 200,000 and 433,000 pounds of antibiotics annually!)
- Ask for more information about food labeled “FREE RANGE,” which merely means the animal was allowed access to the outside, and “NATURAL,” which means the meat does not include artificial ingredients. (Both of these are good, but they don’t indicate the use of antibiotics.)
Food Safety and Inspection Service. “Meat and Poultry Labeling Terms.” Slightly revised January 2001
Frontline. “Modern Meat: Is Your Meat Safe? Antibiotic Debate Overview.” www.pbs.org.
Institute for Argriculture and Trade Policy. “Eat Well, Eat Antibiotic Free.”
Keep Antibiotics Working.com. “Where Other Groups Stand.”
World Health Organization. “Drug Resistance Threatens to Reverse Medical Progress.” Press Release. June 12, 2000.