Consumer Reports’ poll says Americans want antibiotic-free meat

A majority of Americans want antibiotic-free meat, according to a national poll released by Consumer Reports. The report, “Meat on Drugs: The Overuse of Antibiotics in Food Animals and What Supermarkets and Consumers Can Do to Stop It,” is available at Consumer Reports.org.
The release of the poll coincides with the launch of a new marketplace campaign by Consumers Union, the “public policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports,” urging supermarkets to sell only meat raised without antibiotics. The campaign begins at Trader Joe’s, a supermarket Consumers Union calls “one of the leading national chains best poised to make this commitment.” Consumers Union also sent a letter to USDA asking the agency to tighten labeling standards for meat raised without antibiotics.
“We are asking supermarkets to step up to the challenge and tell their suppliers to procure only meat and poultry that has been raised without antibiotics,” said Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives for Consumers Union. “Antibiotics are losing their potency in people, leading to a major national health crisis, and we need to drastically reduce their use in food animals. We are calling on Trader Joe’s to be a leader and make this change now.”
The release of the poll by Consumer Reports is sure to draw criticism from many producers and livestock groups. Earlier this month a coalition of agricultural organizations sent a letter to New York Congresswoman Louise Slaughter – who is seeking to severely restrict antibiotic use in livestock – asking her to recognize the stringent federal approval process and regulation of antibiotics, the lack of human health risks from their judicious use in livestock production and the benefits they offer in food animal production.
Members of the coalition include the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Feed Industry Association, American Meat Institute, Animal Health Institute, American Veterinary Medical Association, National Cattleman’s Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Milk Producers Federation, National Pork Producers Council, National Meat Association and the National Turkey Federation.
According to the Consumer Reports poll, 86 percent of consumers polled said that meat raised without antibiotics should be available in their local market. More than 60 percent of respondents said they would be willing to pay at least five cents a pound more for meat raised without antibiotics and 37 percent said they would pay $1 or more per pound for such meat products.
The majority of respondents to Consumer Reports poll (72%) were extremely or very concerned about the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed, including the potential to create “superbugs” that are immune or resistant to antibiotics. More than 60 percent were just as concerned with the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed allowing them to be raised in unsanitary and crowded conditions for livestock, human consumption of antibiotic residue, and environmental effects due to agricultural runoff containing antibiotics.
The campaign launched by Consumers Union, “Meat Without Drugs,” includes a companion website,www.MeatWithoutDrugs.org, and features a new video in partnership with www.FixFood.org, a social media project of Food, Inc. Director Robert Kenner, narrated by actor Bill Paxton, explaining the declining effectiveness of antibiotics. According to a Consumer Reports release, “Some 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the United States are used not on people, but on factory farm animals, to make them grow faster and to prevent disease in crowded and unsanitary conditions. This is creating ‘superbugs’ on farms to which humans are being exposed and causing life-saving drugs to become less effective.” 
Such claims are sure to draw the ire of many livestock industry leaders who believe activists have unnecessarily alarmed consumers about antibiotic use in livestock production, and are likely to view the new Consumers Union campaign as an attempt to erode consumer confidence in the safety and wholesomeness of livestock and dairy products.
In its letter to Congresswoman Slaughter, the coalition said: “Antibiotics used in veterinary medicine are reviewed and approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).” For animal antibiotics, the safety assessment is more stringent than that for human antibiotics in three ways:
  • If there are risks to humans, FDA will not approve the antibiotic for animals
  • FDA requires a food safety assessment to ensure meat is safe
  • FDA studies the pharmaceutical thoroughly to guarantee it does not increase the risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in food.
The coalition further explained that FDA recently issued new regulations that effectively prohibit the use in food animals of “medically important” antibiotics for improving nutritional efficiency. The rules also ensure veterinarians will be involved in overseeing all uses of these products.
The coalition also cited several published, peer-reviewed risk assessments showing any threat to human health from antibiotic use in livestock and poultry production is negligible, and pointed out many of the bacterial illnesses becoming resistant to antibiotics in human medicine have little or no link to antibiotic use in food animals.
“The research is clear that the contribution of using antibiotics in food-animal production to the human burden of antibiotic resistance is quite small, if it exists at all,” the coalition’s letter concluded.

2 comments:

WE were all forewarned that the over use of antibiotics would one day cause a big health problem in that it would no longer be effective in wiping out the bacterial organism..well the day has come. Hospitals have patients with MRSA and VRSA on isolation units ..the patients immune system is weak and the strain of the infection or bacteria in these patients are no longer sensitive to the use of the antibiotic and the infection is becoming severely fatal. Stop killing these gentle animals for meat consumption.Why inject a cow with an antibiotic to prevent or reduce the harmful bacteria in this beautiful animal. Stop eating meat..change your lifestyle to a healthy one. Even the cows are vegans and look how large they have grown with out eating the bloody flesh of an another animal. Look intot he cow's eyes they have a soul and they want to live as much as you do. Wake up people don't you see the damage that you are doing to your own bodies by eating unsanitary meat that now antibiotic will not cover.
I am finding this tweet very upsetting and do not want a meat eater to follow me or send me tweets as this one or on the new humane techniques to kill a cow before it is slaughtered into steak and hamburgers.

I would like to know your opinion regarding hunger in less developed countries?

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