One of the side-effects of the development of factory farms is the use of antibiotics in animal feed. Farmers have long been using medicines to treat illnesses in food animals, even sometimes anticipating infection. But in the inhumane conditions of the factory farm, corporate lackeys are putting huge amounts of drugs in animal feed. Were these animals kept in better conditions, such high dosages would not be necessary.
It has always seemed to me that the drugs in the food have to get into the muscles, the meat, in order to work. Which means it’s probably still there when the meat is butchered and processed. And that means, the drugs are getting into US! Doctors have been concerned about the decreasing effects of antibiotics in human medicine and have put much of the blame on the use of antibacterial soaps. But I can’t believe that the high levels of antibiotics in animal feed are blameless.
For the first time, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is studying the effects of antibiotics in animal feed on human health. I can’t believe they haven’t done this earlier!
According to Food Safety News, approximately 29 million pounds of antibiotics were used on food animals in this country in 2009. Is that an increase? We don’t know. This is the first time anyone’s ever counted!
While the FDA notice in the Federal Register [PDF] is short and only notes increasing public concern over the use of antimicrobial drugs in food, it’s important to note that the government agency responsible for ensuring food safety is paying attention, even if we think it’s a little late.