Tonight we are going to sit down around the kitchen table and enjoy one of my favorite dinners, pot roast. There is nothing better than a slow-cooked, properly seasoned hunk of beef and the corresponding vegetables. I cannot wait and the best part of all is that I am 100% sure it is absolutely safe to eat and free of antibiotics.
How can I be sure it is free of antibiotics and safe? I raised the animal this particular pot roast came from and I have followed all of the protocols and precautions to make sure it was free of any possible antibiotic residue. So your response is naturally; great, you raised it so you know, but what about the meat in the case at my local grocery store?
Whether it says antibiotic free or not I assure you that the meat in your grocer’s case is also antibiotic free. I know, each day we are all bombarded with information about antibiotic resistant bugs. I also assure you that farmers and ranchers are just like you and we are all worried about our families’ health. Some of the stories are quite frightening and we are alarmed and for good reason.
It was natural for some to make the leap and assume that agriculture has played a part in the increase in resistant bacteria. Farmers and ranchers are some of the largest users of antibiotics. In many cases in modern animal agriculture, antibiotics are included at therapeutic levels in livestock feed to promote growth and prevent infections. This practice has been around for decades and has been studied extensively.
All animal medicine, including antibiotics used in feeds, are closely monitored and approved by the FDA. Antibiotic resistance in humans has never been linked to the use of antibiotics in animals, never. Why all the scrutiny on antibiotics and particularly those in used in feed? An increase in the cases of antibiotic resistance in humans has led to greater speculation. However, speculation is all it is.
I speak for my fellow farmers and ranchers when I say that we are cognizant of the value of antibiotics and the dangers of their overuse. We are concerned about resistant bacteria in our livestock but the concern for our animals pales in comparison when it comes to the concern we have for our families. That is why we are diligent in our use of antibiotics and follow label directions and withdrawal dates. It is simply the right thing to do. We are farmers and ranchers and proud to raise the meat on your dinner plates but we are fathers, mothers, grandparents, uncles and aunts first. The safety of our families is paramount.
I assure you that we are in favor of continued monitoring when it comes to anti-biotic resistance and we will be the first ones to look for solutions if the time ever comes that a problem is found. However, that time has not come and the antibiotics we utilize are critical for the health of our livestock. Just know that the meat on your table is antibiotic free, it will stay that way because of concerned committed farmers and ranchers.
OK, so I am preaching to the choir, we all live this every day and we are concerned about the increased regulations on antibiotics. I am even more concerned about where this might lead. It is very important and even critical that we voice our opinion and educate our consumers about how we use antibiotics and that they are not linked in any way to antibiotic resistant bacteria in humans. We need to tell the story to every consumer and reassure them that their food is safe.
We must also acknowledge our responsibility to use antibiotics in the right way and work closely with our veterinarians to insure that we are. We are under more scrutiny and more people are watching our actions than ever before. I know we are and we will continue to but a good reminder never hurts either. We live in an era of more attention where opinion and speculation often outweigh facts. It is up to us to make sure the facts and scientific proof are interwoven into that public opinion.
Just like my perfectly cooked, properly seasoned pot roast takes time and effort turning the tide of public opinion takes just as much time and preparation. All of this talk about beef and pot roast has made me hungry so I must turn my attention to the chuck roast slated for supper tonight. You know, the one that is healthy, wholesome and, most of all, antibiotic free.