Home > American Agriculture, Poor Science > Food Inc. Correction #1 – Antibiotics

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.

  1. June 23, 2009 at 3:19 AM

    Great article! Thanks Jeff! Well done!

  2. August 10, 2009 at 9:34 PM

    This is enlightening.However, one must skeptically question the CDC and FDA's motives and practices. We know that many governmental institutions are revolving doors for the foxes to guard the henhouses when industry leaders police their own industries, then return as CEOs.The government became even more corrupt under the fake Christian retard, George W. Bush and vampire Dick Cheney–over 300 separate scandals worth! (See http://scandalist.info) (Bush I was a corrupt piece of work, too, but let's not digress.)As I understand the use of antibiotics according to "In Defense of Food" (the author, Michael Pollan–who also appeared in Food, Inc.–was interviewed on Bill Maher's Real Time recently) they are used to treat sick livestock animals.The are fed mostly corn (to make them fatter), which is unnatural for them to eat, contains far fewer nutrients, and makes them sick.To prevent this sickness, we treat them with antibiotics. This is a shameful way to treat animals, simply so that we can make them fatter to eat.Furthermore, corn prices are propped up artificially by government subsidies, which make it more expensive, and make our meat more expensive as well.And then the antibiotics make meat more expensive!To make matters worse, antibiotics (from humans and livestock) enter the ecology, create super-resistant bacteria, which then kill more animals as more antibiotics must be created. Also people are now dying from simple infections in hospitals because of overuse of antibiotics. This cycle cannot be sustained.All of this is a ridiculous cycle, it benefits nobody by big agribusiness corporations, and supports an industry that is inherently cruel to animals (caging them in too-small areas, etc.) for the love of profit–not human health. For real Christians, what would Jesus say or do about all of this? (He turned over the cheating moneychanger's tables at the temples. Nice job, JC!)Who the hell is behind all this nonsense? Corporations, their lobbyists, and the corrupt Congress held in thrall to the lobbying dollars.Just give us some real, healthy, local food (yes, including meat!) grown cruelty free! Most people, if they knew how cruelly many animals are treated–and the ugly, dirty, inhumane conditions the animals are kept in–they would refuse to eat it.Read some of Sierra Club's articles on factory farms: http://www.sierraclub.org/factoryfarms/factsheets/

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