Food Inc. Correction #1 – Antibiotics
Food Inc. Correction #1 – Antibiotic Use
While researching statistics, data and information used in Food Inc. pertaining to antibiotic use, the only information I could locate, was from 1978. Therefore I have provided a more recent assessment for consumers, from the year 2000.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that more than 50 million pounds of antibiotics are produced in the United States each year.
According to the most recent (2000) AHI survey, 31.5 million pounds are used in humans, 63%, 17.8 million pounds, 36%, are used in animals, and around 700 thousand pounds, 1%, in plants.
Of the total used in animals, 14.7 million pounds, 83%, are used for prevention and treatment of disease.
Of all antibiotic uses, only 3.1 million pounds, 6.1%, are used for growth promotion. It should be noted that the term “growth promotion” is refers to decrease in weight loss due to disease that may occur due to stress at the result of transportation and arrival at the feeding location. Antibiotics are sometimes fed in the first rations to prevent disease until animal acclimates to their new environment.
Antibiotics may be approved for use in both companion and farm animals.
All antibiotics have a “withdrawl” period or period of time that the animal must be not be fed or injected prior to processing, so as to insure that no residual antibiotic is in the final product.
Meat for consumption is tested for residual drugs and other contaminates prior to entering the food chain. Any meat testing positive is not allowed for consumption.
There are more than 7.5 billion chickens, 292 million turkeys, 115 million cats and dogs, 109 million cattle, 92 million pigs, 7 million sheep and 6.9 million horses in the United States.
Finishing rations in the United States have NOT been allowed to contain any antibiotics since the 1990’s.
Cattle that get sick are separated from the group and kept in “sick pens” for treatment and then returned when they are healthy; this to ensure the health of the rest of the pen/herd, and reduce the number of animals that may need to receive antibiotics.
In addition to protecting the health of America’s pets, antibiotics help farmers maintain healthier animals, which helps make America’s food supply the worlds safest.
All information is data provided through the CDC, FDA, & USDA.