Would you like a side of antibiotics with that? Consumers Finally to Know Amount of Antibiotics in Meat

Nov, 13, 2017

By Fredrica Syren:

More and more information is emerging about the use of antibiotics in meat production. Critics like doctors, scientists, dieticians and activists are calling out the meat industry for overusing antibiotics and hormones in animals that do not need them. The misuse of antibiotics in meat comes with a heavy price — dangerous superbugs resistant to antibiotics used by humans. Sadly, antibiotic resistant infections kill hundreds of thousands of people around the world each year.

The problem is that the meat producing industry is very secretive, and most states have so-called “Ag-gag” laws preventing anyone who has worked at a slaughter house or meat production company to tell what they have seen or heard.

But that’s about to change….

Thanks to a new San Francisco city ordinance signed into law in October, consumers will get a rare glimpse into the use of antibiotics in meat and poultry production. The new ordinance will force several top meat and poultry producers all over the country to share details about their use of antibiotics. Grocery stores like Safeway and Target will be required under the ordinance to document antibiotics used in the meat and poultry available at their stores. AND the information will be made available via a city website to consumers.

Antibiotic contaminated meats such as chicken, turkey, farmed fish and seafood, pork, beef and lamb put our children and ourselves at risk. It’s estimated that about 50,000 die each year in the U.S. due to antibiotic resistant infections. We’re now facing a future when antibiotics no longer will be as effective, so routine procedures like C-sections, hip replacements or any other surgeries will come with a huge risk of antibiotic resistant infections. A new British study warns that, unless we get the antibiotics misuse under control by 2050, 10 million people a year might die because of resistance to antibiotics. What once was considered a miracle drug has gotten a bad reputation because of its misuse in agriculture.

There might be lots of resistance to the ordinance by the meat industry. The U.S. food production industry is a very secretive one with very few requirements to disclose their use of chemicals or additives in our food. So this will bring much-needed transparency to the national food system.

Here is a link to a trailer for the documentary Resistance, which covers the antibiotic resistance issue. I highly recommend that you watch it and learn more about why agriculture’s misuse of antibiotics is so harmful. Check out the preview of the movie.

For more information about the use of antibiotics in meat production, go here:



Fredrika Syren

Fredrika Syren is an environmental activist and writer. In 2016, she founded the website Green-Mom.com where she shared her family’s journey of living zero waste. She lives in San Diego, California with her husband James and their children Bella, Noah, and Liam. Fredrika and her family were recently featured in the documentary Zero Time to Waste. Fredrika is also the author of Zero Waste for Families - A Practical Guidebook (which you can buy on this site)

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