To Your Health!: FDA requests antibiotic-free meat, poultry

By Richard S. Gubbe
Contributing Writer

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has requested that meat and poultry producers cease giving antibiotics to their animals. Although this is a formal request, there is no force of law attached.

The reason for the request is to stop the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that cause serious infections.

Two years ago, the FDA advised against the use of these growth stimulators, but little became of it.

The elimination of antibiotics would mean a loss of revenue to the general beef and poultry producing farmer or rancher. A corn-fed cow given hormones and antibiotics can weigh 50 percent more than an organic-raised cow.

Don’t expect farmers to conform tomorrow, or the next day. But the intent is there. The FDA has requested a response by all major meat producers within three months.

Antibiotics have been added to animal feed and water since the 1960s, when they were found to keep animals from getting sick but also made them grow faster. Concerns about bacteria becoming resistant to those antibiotics came about in the 1970s, but restrictions never followed.

Antibiotics, the same ones humans get, would and could still be prescribed by a veterinarian if the request by the FDA comes to fruition.

Perhaps we’re starting to catch up to Europe. But if U.S. meat and poultry producers want to go further, they need to consider purified water to stem the use of nitrates from herbicides and pesticides. Then, they can cut down on inoculations, growth hormones and corn, and get back to green grass.

Cows that eat green grasses have more CLAs. CLA is a newly-discovered good fat called “conjugated linoleic acid” that may be a potent cancer fighter. In animal studies, very small amounts of CLA have blocked all three stages of cancer: initiation, promotion and metastasis. Most anti-cancer agents block only one of these stages. What’s more, CLA has slowed the growth of an unusually wide variety of tumors, including cancers of the skin, breast, prostate and colon.

Human CLA research is in its infancy. A recent survey determined that women with the most CLA in their diets had a 60 percent reduction in the risk of breast cancer.

The most abundant source of natural CLA is the meat and dairy products of grass-fed cows. Research conducted shows that grazing animals have from three to five times more CLA than animals fattened on grain in a feedlot. Simply switching from grain-fed to grass-fed products can greatly increase your intake of CLA.

Many people take a synthetic version that is widely promoted as a diet aid and muscle builder, but pills may have some potentially serious side effects.

2,4-D lives to kill

The toxic herbicide 2,4-D, linked often to cancer, hormone disruption, neurotoxicity, Parkinson’s disease and birth defects, lives on to destroy more.

Dow Chemical has succeeded in convincing the United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA) that the “Agent Orange” dioxin is safe for Americans.

The killer known as 2,4-D was an ingredient of Agent Orange, a defoliant used in the Vietnam War that wreaked decades of harm to Vietnamese civilians and American and Vietnamese soldiers.

Environmentalists are concerned that the EPA’s failure to ban or limit the use of 2,4-D enables Dow Chemical’s new genetically-engineered 2,4-D-resistant corn to be approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This will increase use and further poison the planet with dioxins, one of the worst pollutants in our realm. Today, 2,4-D is used little on corn.

First used in the late 1940s, 2,4-D is one of the most widely-used weed killers in lawn-care products.

The EPA has reviewed the safety of 2,4-D several times, particularly with regard to links to cancer. Some studies have shown a higher risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma among farmers. There was no proof that one chemical would be the sole cause.

While some past studies suggested that high doses of the chemical could be harmful, they did not establish lack of safety, the EPA said. Whatever that means.

Dow came up with their own studies to show otherwise, and the EPA swallowed it because causation in studies and lawsuits is always difficult to prove.

Richard Gubbe is an award-winning journalist of 38 years, public relations specialist and Reiki Master Teacher. He is a long-time Rockford resident who has taught preventive health, visualization and Reiki at Rock Valley College since 2003.

From the April 18-24, 2012, issue

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