Last week I read an article on CNN’s website. Yes, I know reading articles on CNN’s website is bad for my blood pressure and I should avoid it at all cost. However, this article was sent to me by a friend and they asked for my comment on it. It was an article on antibiotics in meat and how the top 25 casual dining chains added up.
Right off the article boldly states a new report is sounding the alarm about the use of antibiotics in meat and poultry. This report is funded by Friends of the Earth, the Natural Resources Defense Council and several other consumer and environmental “watch dog” groups. The article goes on to quote the Center for Disease Control and is very one sided. But what else did I expect from CNN.
The report was funded and organized by consumer protection groups. Let’s be clear about the groups behind this report. They are anti-agriculture groups who, most likely, can be traced back to animal rights groups like HSUS and PETA. They may be disguised as a group pretending to care about the health and safety of your food but in reality they are on a mission to destroy modern animal agriculture. That is their mission and this is the method they are using.
They also quoted the Center for Disease Control or CDC. The quote says that antibiotic resistance is a medical disaster on the horizon and measures need to be taken immediately or we will see a dramatic increase in deaths from antibiotic resistance. I have no doubt that is true but the quote is taken out of context and has nothing to do with our use of antibiotics in farming and ranching.
The article goes on to give Chipotle and Panera Bread A grades for their use of antibiotic free meat and the stringent standards they hold their suppliers up too. That, my friends, is a bunch of hooey. You all know how I feel about the two chains and that I believe they prey upon fear and a lack of knowledge about how meat is raised to sell more food. It is a marketing ploy and one that is far too successful. I was not surprised that they were championed in this report.
Many of the most popular chains like Wendy’s, Burger King and Subway got Fs. That is a not at all true. All restaurants should receive As for serving antibiotic free meat. Why, you ask? Because, and here is a secret that the groups behind the report failed to mention, all meat is antibiotic free. All meat is inspected at the slaughter plant and if antibiotics are found the meat is condemned. So Chipotle and Panera Bread can crow all they want but their meat is no more antibiotic free than McDonald’s or Wendy’s.
What all of this does is add fuel to the hysteria that is building about our use of antibiotics in livestock? There has never been a link found between antibiotic resistance in humans and the use of antibiotics in livestock and there never will be. All the rumor and conjecture does is threatening to strip some very important animal medicines away from caring farmers and ranchers. The bottom line is that we need this medicine to assure that our animals get the best care they can will they are with us.
Modern veterinary medicine has made huge technological advances and we are able to care for and save animals that we would have lost just a few years ago. We understand that with those advances come much responsibility and every producer I know takes that very seriously. We need to maintain the efficacy of antibiotics for the long-term health of our animals and of our families. That is why we follow the labels to the letter and closely watch withdrawal dates.
The bottom line is that most animals are harvested with not a trace of antibiotic in their system and those that might are found and condemned and the meat from those animals will never, ever make it into the food supply. Along with that, responsible use of antibiotics by fellow farmers and ranchers and myself will assure that antibiotic resistance in humans will never come from agriculture.
This report is alarmist and wrong and CNN did nothing to raise their level of integrity in my opinion by giving it credence. Chipotle and Panera may have good food but the fact that they market themselves as a better, safer, healthier alternative is wrong. I will enjoy a hamburger from Burger King or a pizza from Dominoes knowing that it is just as antibiotic free as a burrito from that other place.