Sunday, December 6, 2015

The "Farm"acy on the Farm

One of the most controversial topics in agriculture is antibiotics. Antibiotics, also known as an antimicrobial, are medicines used to treat infections or diseases in both humans and livestock. They are also used to prevent infections/diseases. Just like the medicine your doctor gives you when you're sick, vets have medicines they prescribe to animals when they get sick.

Many people seem to be concerned or confused as to why farmers use them on animals that end up on your plate. If you don't know much about livestock or the process of how they get from farm to plate, the thought of medicines being put into your meat can trigger some questions like; "Is this procedure safe?" "How do I know my food is safe?"

The procedure is safe, otherwise it wouldn't happen. The FDA has approved antibiotic use for over 40 years while vets work with farmers to enforce correct usage. Some consumers worry about developing a resistance to a certain medicine by consuming it through what they eat so they buy the food labeled "antibiotic-free". Spoiler alert: all food is antibiotic free. You're just paying extra for a label.

How do you know all food is antibiotic free? When we give a cow a vaccination we write down what type of shot it was, how much of it was given and when it was given. That way when an animal is ready to go to market we can go back and look to see if the animal has reached the end of it's withdrawal period (the time it takes an animal to metabolize the antibiotic).

Those who are concerned about developing a "resistance" have nothing to worry about when the medicines we use on animals are hardly used in humans.

Just because a farmer uses antibiotics on their farm doesn't mean that their products are not safe. We want our animals happy and healthy and our consumers to have safe food to eat. I leave you with this video with some very interesting facts!

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