Dr. Oz: Antibiotics in Meat
Dr. Oz kicked off his show by talking about antibiotics in meat. There’s new concerns that antibiotics in meat could be making us sick. The studies show that treating farm animals with antibiotics creates superbugs, some so powerful they’ve evolved past the most powerful antibiotics. Studies also show 80 percent of all antibiotics go to meat production, not your doctor’s office.
2 million Americans become ill each year because of antiobiotic-resistant bacteria. The urinary, stomach, and skin infections they cause can’t be cured by the usual antibiotics.
Using antibiotics in meat has already been banned in many countries in Europe for years. The Centers for Disease Control has called for a significant reduction in antibiotics in the animals we eat. But so far, FDA regulations are voluntary. So right now, there’s no limits to the antibiotics used in meat.
Dr. Oz: Are Antibiotics in Meat Hurting Us?
Dr. Oz talked to the experts about this issue. Dr. Michael Hansen said that a small amount of antibiotics given to farm animals is for disease treatment, but the majority is for disease prevention and growth promotion. That’s right: they’re treating these animals with antibiotics when they don’t have to.
When the antibiotics enter the animal, they kill the good bacteria, leaving behind the resistant bacteria. This bacteria gets on the meat and passes from hand to hand to adults and even kids. They can cause food-borne illnesses, skin infections, and urinary tract infections.
Dr. Oz: What Are Superbugs?
As recently as 15 years ago, superbugs were a hospital problem. But now, we’re seeing them in homes, regardless of neighborhood or age of the patient. Today, most species of bacteria that cause infection in humans are more resistant than they used to be.
Dr. Alan Greene said that using antibiotics in meat for growth promotion should be outlawed. He said that the people who treat the farm animals with antibiotics are often not trained medically.
Dr. Hansen said that this is a major health problem. This could get to the point where some bacteria could become resistant to all antibiotics, making us functionally back to the days before antibiotics.
Dr. Oz: Are Kids In Danger From Antibiotics In Meat?
Dr. Greene said that this is a huge danger to children because they get infections more often and this is the first generation to be exposed to this many multi-drug resistant bacteria as kids.
Dr. Oz: What Shouldn’t We Eat?
Dr. Hansen said that in 2011, there was a report that showed 81 percent of ground turkey, 69 percent of pork chops, 55 percent of ground beef, and 39 percent of chicken parts have these antibiotic-resistant bacteria on them.
Currently, the USDA does not mandate labels state whether or not meat or poultry has been administered antibiotics. So how can we tell? Dr. Hansen said we should assume the meat has come from animals treated with antibiotics, unless it’s labeled as organic or with a label that says, “No antibiotics administered, USDA Process Verified.” The latter label meals a third party has been brought in to verify that the animals weren’t treated with antibiotics.
There are also labels that say “No Antibiotics Used”, but they don’t have an independent third party verification, so we don’t know how truthful these labels are.
Dr. Oz: Consider Meat Contaminated
Dr. Greene said you should consider meat or poultry contaminated until it’s been thoroughly cooked. Use gloves, disinfect any counter tops or cutting boards, and wash your hands after you touch it.
Dr. Oz reached out to the FDA, who said they are currently working with drug manufacturers to phase out the use of these drugs and “phase in the oversight of a veterinarian for the remaining therapeutic uses of such drugs”.
“Once this is complete, it will be illegal to use these antibiotics for growth promotion purposes,” the FDA said in their statement.