The Fight Against Unnecessary Antibiotic Use Continues
Yesterday I talked about the proposed new ruling by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that would require manufacturers of antibacterial hand soaps to prove these products are more effective than plain soap. The idea is to pressure manufacturers to remove unnecessary and potentially harmful chemicals from widespread use. I think this is a sensible move, because these products are affecting us in ways we barely understand. Animal studies suggest they may affect reproductive health and even the tendency to gain weight.
I am not a big meat eater because I was raised as a vegetarian. My parents never gave us fish or meat while growing up so as an adult I don’t crave much meat at all. Nevertheless, I am a strong proponent to only eat organic, free range grass fed meats if you chose to eat them at all because those are the only ones guaranteed to not be raised with the usage of hormones and antibiotics.
Thankfully, now there’s more good news: The FDA also took steps recently to encourage the meat industry to voluntarily phase out the use of antibiotics in livestock. This has been a controversial practice for decades. People are increasingly concerned about the way the meat they eat is produced, processed and handled. Exposé films like “Food, Inc.,” and “Food Fight,” have increased the public’s awareness—and discomfort—about factory farming practices. The issues, and concerns, are numerous. But the use of antibiotics is particularly troubling. Many people believe the practice, which helps farmers raise larger animals in less time, is contributing significantly to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that could make us sick.
There’s already plenty of evidence of this, and FDA is finally acting to curb the practice. In a press release, FDA noted: “...it is important to use these drugs only when medically necessary. Governments around the world consider antimicrobial-resistant bacteria a major threat to public health.” Presently, antibiotics that would require a prescription for use among humans are available over-the-counter to industrial livestock operators.
The drugs in question are routinely added to animals’ feed and even drinking water. No one is certain why they boost growth, although some would argue that they counteract the growth of bacteria that result from practices such as forcing animals to eat an unnatural diet, or live and grow under abnormally crowded and often unsanitary conditions.
So as I mentioned earlier, choose organic foods. They’re produced without the use of antibiotics, artificial additives, preservatives, pesticides, etc.