Over thirty years ago, the FDA found out that overuse of antibiotics creates a drug resistant bacteria that can then spread to humans and make it difficult to treat already hard to treat illnesses. Nearly 80 percent of all antibiotics sold within the Unites States are given to animals. Outside of the direct impact that this has on animals’ health, the impact ripples to affect consumer health as well. (1)
Judge ordered that FDA must take action due to overwhelming use of antibiotics on factory farms.
On March 20, 2015, a judge ruled that the FDA must take action on this knowledge and track the antibiotic use in farms. Factory farms often give penicillin to animals regardless of whether they are sick in order to prevent a large outbreak since animals are in such close quarters. (1)
This court order will not only force the FDA to examine the use of antibiotics on farm animals, but also forces them to withdraw existing approval for routine penicillins and tetracyclines. (1)
“It is important to use these drugs only when medically necessary,” the FDA reported that “Governments around the world consider antimicrobial-resistant bacteria a major threat to public health.” (2)
This ruling followed an FDA report that was released in April that showed that 81 percent of all raw ground turkey tested with antibiotic resistant bacteria. This bacteria was also found in 69 percent of pork chops, 55 percent of ground beef and 39 percent of chicken. (2)
In 2011, they found that 29.9 million pounds of antibiotics were given to farm animals in comparison with the 7.7 million pounds sold for human use. (2)
Gail Hansen, senior officer for Pew Campaign on Human Health, reports, “We feed antibiotics to sick animals, which is completely appropriate, but we also put antibiotics in their feed and in their water to help them grow faster and to compensate for unhygienic conditions. If you have to keep the animals healthy with drugs, I would argue you need to re-examine the system. You don’t take antibiotics preventively when you go out into the world.” (2)
Companies and farmers who stopped antibiotic use last year have had positive feedback from consumers.
In 2014, Brandon Glen, farmer got word from Perdue farms to stop all antibiotic use. He immediately was concerned about keeping his chickens alive without antibiotics. Perdue knew at this time that the market was leaning this direction and they should step out first. (3)
Tyson foods also launched an antibiotic brand of chicken and beef last year. Walmart, BJ’s Wholesale Club, and other grocery stores currently have a small section where antibiotic-free meat is sold. Chick-fill-A Inc, reported that they have been working over a five year time period to phase out all chicken raised with antibiotics. (3)
Prices for these antibiotic free meats are much higher, but this also provides a reward for farmers who are willing to incur the higher costs associated with producing this meat. Meat producers who took early steps to move in this direction have found that the praise from health advocates has allowed them to embrace this new way of farming. (3)
Beef, pork and chicken that are antibiotic free accounted for 5 percent of meat sold in the U.S. last year but the shares are quickly growing. Sales for antibiotic free chicken rose by 34 percent last year. (3)
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Article originally posted on RawFoodWorld.com republished with permission