Farmers and ranchers use antibiotics in their animals for their well-being and to prevent sicknesses. Recently, USFRA hosted a panel discussion on antibiotics and its use in animals for human consumption. Here are some facts about antibiotic use:

  • Antibiotic labels designate a withdrawal period before meat or milk can enter the food supply.  All treated animals must wait for slaughter or milk production to assure any antibiotics have cleared the animal’s system. Both meat and milk are rigorously monitored. (American Dairy Association and Dairy Council. (2003). Organic Milk FAQ. Retrieved from http://www.adadc.com/OrganicFAQ.pdf)
  • According to FDA statistics, 35 percent of antibiotics sold for animal use are in classes not used in human medicine. And all antibiotics are carefully examined for any human health implications before approved. This means they have no possibility of contributing to antibiotic resistance bacteria in humans.  http://www.ahi.org/issues-advocacy/animal-antibiotics/antibiotics-in-livestock-frequently-asked-questions/)
  • When an animal raised for food on an organic farm becomes ill, organic livestock producers utilize natural remedies. If these remedies are ineffective then it must be given medical treatment including antibiotics if appropriate for the illness. Once an animal is treated with antibiotics, it cannot be sold as organic.  (U.S. Department of Agriculture 7 CFR 205.238 (c). 

To read more about antibiotic use in farm animals, visit Food Dialogues:

http://www.fooddialogues.com/2012/03/28/overview-antibiotics-use-in-animals-raised-for-food

The USFRA panel discussion held Tuesday, May 29, featured two experts – a veterinarian and registered dietitian. The veterinarian discussed misconceptions around antibiotic use, quantities and timing of treatments and the reasons for needing to use antibiotics on farms and ranches. The registered dietitian continuously hit on the complexity of this issue from a consumer’s perspective. She says how and when information is relayed is essential to understanding the need and reasons for judicial use of antibiotics in farm animals.

How can you provide consumers with accurate information on the importance of microbials on farms and ranches? Share the panel discussion, get active on our Facebook page and tell consumers how/when antibiotics are used on your farms and ranches. Share your stories on your social media outlets and feel free to link to our panel discussion and overview of antibiotics

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REDBOOK ran an article regarding superbugs due to the overuse of antibiotics. While the article had a strong focus on human use of antibiotics for viral, rather than bacterial infections and overuse without reasonable need, the article also hits on the “overuse” of antibiotics in farm animals. Will antibiotic use in farm animals really be the cause of superbugs?

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