Are you looking to make a change in your diet? Grass fed, organic beef might be the answer.
It's important to know where your beef is coming from. Did you know, 4 of the top 5 sellers of grass fed beef purchase cattle who have been fed distiller grains and soybean hulls? What else might these cattle have been fed? Many sellers of grass fed beef are buying, rather than raising cattle in order to keep up with demand. Is your beef coming from a farmer, or someone who procures their beef? It's time to go organic. EatWild.com has a list of farmers who are committed to raising animals on a grass based diet. Be careful though, some farmers have a few steers on grass, but they buy the majority of what they sell. It's labeled with their farm's name and shipped to them for distribution; however, the steers never set foot on their farm.
Another reason to buy organic beef - Inputs. This story is just starting to unfold. Merck, the maker of Zilmax is trying to downplay the relation of their product with downer cattle. Conventional farms use additives including; hormones, antibiotics, larvicides (the list goes on), to promote weight gain and profits, not health. If you wouldn't sprinkle any of these products on your breakfast cereal why would you accept your farmer using them on their livestock's feed?
There's a new family of bacteria resistant to ALL known antibiotics. It kills nearly half of the patients infected with it. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) calls this a "nightmare" bacteria. CRE stands for Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae. It's not found in the general population, yet. One-in-24 hospitals in the United States are infected with the CRE bacteria, it's also found in nursing homes. The truly frightening progression of this bacteria is it's ability to spread resistance to other bacteria.
“These are nightmare bacteria that present a triple threat,” said Thomas Frieden, director at CDC, “They’re resistant to nearly all antibiotics. They have high mortality rates, killing half of people with serious infections. And they can spread their resistance to other bacteria.” One of the insidious behaviors of this bacteria; It's evolving. It’s “the biggest threat to patient safety in the hospital we have,” said Costi Sifri, an infectious disease physician at the University of Virginia Health System, “Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like anything is slowing their spread.”
Could antibiotics in animal feed have contributed to this? So far, a connection hasn't been made. In my opinion logic and common sense would lead to this conclusion. The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) urged for the banning of antibiotics in animal feed. They're also calling for stricter guidelines regarding the human use of antibiotics. The OMA in a report titled, "When Antibiotics Stop Working" explained that doctors are facing the extinction of one of the most fundamental and life-saving tools in medicine - effective antibiotics.
Seventy percent of all antibiotic consumption in the USA is used up by the farming industry - most is used in livestock feed. In livestock production antibiotics are used to promote growth, not health. Combined resistance to multiple antibiotics has been found in E. coli and Klebsiella pneumonia. When will the excessive use end?
"More than a generation has passed since FDA first recognized the potential human health consequences of feeding large quantities of antibiotics to healthy animals. Accumulating evidence shows that antibiotics are becoming less effective, while our grocery store meat is increasingly laden with drug-resistant bacteria. The FDA needs to put the American people first by ensuring that antibiotics continue to serve their primary purpose - saving human lives by combating disease."
Here at Forest Hill Farm we don't use antibiotics in feed. Cattle and sheep only eat grass. Pigs and poultry aren't fed ANY antibiotics.
Consumers Union’s Meat Without Drugs (www.meatwithoutdrugs.org) campaigned
at a conference in front of Trader Joe’s Union Square store in New York City calling on the national specialty grocer to stop selling meat and poultry raised on antibiotics. The campaign, which included more than a dozen consumer, environmental, and animal welfare organizations, delivered a petition to Trader Joe’s signed by nearly 560,000 consumers.
My solution; if those 560,000 signers would find a local producer, who raises animals without antibiotics or hormones, they could boost their local economy. Voting for healthy products with their buying power would send a clear message. So, put your money where your mouth is. If you're opposed to factory farms, antibiotics in animal feed, and the horrific living conditions of confinement animals, than make a conscious effort to support the alternative. After residents voiced their opposition to a hog confinement facility moving into the area the Linn County Board of Supervisors voted against it.
As for Trader Joe's, the retailer has declined meeting with Consumers Union. Representative Harry Waxman intends to introduce legislation in Congress that will help the Food and Drug Administration better understand how the overuse of antibiotics in food animals makes the drugs less effective for people. According to the FDA, an estimated 8o percent of all antibiotics sold in the United states are used in food animals, mostly to make them grow faster and to prevent disease in crowded and unsanitary conditions. Consumers Union is the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports.
Have you heard of Ractopamine? Chances are you haven't. It's the drug that makes pork 'The other white meat'. Pork isn't white meat by nature it's made lean by feeding ractopamine - trade name PayLean (made by Eli Lilly) to hogs. It's also fed to beef cattle and turkeys.
Taiwan has banned the importation of pork from the United States because of this drug. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) isn't happy. The NPPC would like Secretary of State Clinton, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk to make it clear to the Taiwanese Government that unless the ban on ractopamine fed pork is lifted there won't be U.S. support for negotiations on Trans-Pacific Partnership. China and the EU have also rejected pork from hogs fed ractopamine.
Here's an idea... what if pigs weren't fed ractopamine? What if the customer, in this case Taiwan, China, and Europe were allowed to buy meat produced in a manner that they determined safe for consumers? What if countries weren't strong armed into buying drug fed pork? What if free choice were allowed and meat labels disclosed all the chemical inputs that produced it? Would it make a difference when choosing what your family eats? Just some food for thought. Here's more on ractopamine.
Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed a bill banning arsenic in poultry feed, making the state the first to have such legislation. The law specifically mentions two Pfizer drugs that contain arsenic: Roxarsone (which the company voluntarily withdrew from the market last year) and Histostat (which is currently on the market). The new law prohibits the use, sale or distribution of commercial feed containing arsenic, the law takes effect January 1, 2013. Read more
In June Georgians celebrated pastured poultry week. Georgians for Pastured Poultry (GPP) spread the word about the important virtues of pastured poultry. Restaurants in Athens and Atlanta helped spread the word by promoting pastured poultry on their menus. Georgian Chef, Shaun Doty demonstrates how to cook a pasture raised chicken
Antibiotics in animal feed is in the news again this week...
Chickens routinely fed antibiotics to fight E. Coli bacteria are creating a superbug that's resistant to antibiotics to treat bladder infections. Amee Magnus, epidemiologist at McGill University found that E. Coli responsible for bladder infections closely matches the bacteria found in retail chicken - and those bacteria have a high level of resistance. She went on to say, "They (the chickens) are getting drugs from the time that they were in the egg all the way up to the time that they are slaughtered." Forest Hill Farm chickens are fed non-GMO grains and never given antibiotics. Hormones are illegal to feed. You won't find them in any poultry or swine feed. Both beef cattle and dairy cattle are routinely injected with FDA approved hormones to increase milk production (in dairy cows), and to promote growth in beef cattle. Our livestock is all antibiotic and hormone free!
The FDA announced that a drug fed to chickens will no longer be sold in the U.S. Pfizer subsidiary Alpharma will discontinue sales of 3-Nitro. Chickens are fed this drug to increase their appetites. The FDA found that chickens fed arsenic had traces of the drug in their meat, primarily their liver. Pfizer will stop selling the drug in 30 days, after animal producers have had time to find new medications. 3-Nitro, a.k.a. roxarsone is the most common arsenic based animal drug, but similar drugs have been approved for poultry and pig feed.
The poultry and pigs at Forest Hill Farm eat non-GMO grains and grasses.