Cornucopia’s Take: Although the FDA banned the use of antibiotics solely as a growth-promoter for livestock in 2017, the agency did not establish any real tracking of antibiotic use by ranchers. The FDA rule also allows veterinarians to prescribe antibiotics for disease prevention, even when no animals in the herd are ill. Overuse of antibiotics in the food system has resulted in antibiotic-resistant disease and may contribute to poor digestive health in humans.
Antibiotics in Meat Could Be Damaging Our Guts
The New York Times
by William D. Cohan
The F.D.A. banned the use of antibiotics for growth promotion in animals last year. One organic cattle farmer is sure the ban is being flouted.
In 2015, Sandy Lewis, a small-time organic cattle farmer in upstate New York, bought 13 bulls, for around $5,000 each, from a breeder in Oklahoma. A few weeks after the animals were trucked to his farm near the Vermont border, Mr. Lewis discovered that two of the bulls had died. He could see holes in their abdomens from where they had gored one other.
A field autopsy proved inconclusive. When two more bulls among the new herd fell sick, Mr. Lewis shipped them off to Cornell University to be examined. One died along the way, but a blood test on the living bull provided the answer: It had anaplasmosis, a bacterial illness that destroys red blood cells and deprives the animals of oxygen, causing them at times to act violently. The disease is relatively rare in the Northeast, yet a quarter of Mr. Lewis’s herd ended up becoming infected. He lost another six animals to the disease and spent more than $100,000 trying to save the rest. Ultimately, another 100 animals had to be culled. Read Full Article »