As consumers have become more aware of the dangerous antibiotics in farm animals, and hostile conditions farm animals are kept in, they are overwhelmingly looking for organic and authentic natural alternatives that are more healthy, and treat the animals humanely as possible.
These new humane conditions, and way the farm animal was raised also come with new labels to signify that the animal has been treated humanely and with respect, or does it?
In this article we will review some of the new labeling you will see in grocery stores that supports healthy conditions for farm animals, and humans. Some of these meat labels do not mean what you think. Thus, this is the reason for this article to explain the food labels meaning in detail.
To Buy Antibiotic Meats & Poultry Or Not?
A recent article by Consumer Reports says that buying organic meats and turkeys can help slow the antibiotic resistance. The reason is that these organic meats that are USDA organic certified do not contain routine antibiotics injections. (Note that under current laws, meat and poultry that is labeled USDA organic may have had some intermittent antibiotic injections before it hatched, to the day before it was killed.)
Antibiotic resistance has been a recent trend in the past few years because of antibiotic overuse or inappropriate use, meaning that the antibiotics to kill bacteria and germs are no longer working.
The Antibiotic Resistant Superbug ‘CRE’
Some health authorities are scared that these dangerous antibiotic resistant bacteria will become an unstoppable superbug. There has been an antibiotic use decline in raising chickens, but the same cant be said for Turkey, cattle, hogs, poultry, or other produce meats.
Just last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that a Nevada woman in her 70s had died after being infected with a "nightmare bacteria" (a type of CRE) resistant to all antibiotics.
This bacteria is called “carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae” or abbreviation CRE. Scientists at the National Academy of Science call CRE a dangerous bacterium that can spread more rapidly and mutate faster than previously predicted. The CRE bacteria can cause serious infections throughout the body, including the lungs, bladder, bloodstream and skin.
The Drug resistant bacteria can spread by blowing dust on farms, water, or dirt polluted with contaminated feces. It can also spread from farms to humans through the farmers, or anyone who handles animals and their waste.
According to the CDC, antibiotic resistant infections kill about 35,000 people in America each year.
The CRE superbug also has the chance to mix with other resistant bacteria in the environment, which could create an even stronger antibiotic resistant bacterium.
What Labels Do You Look For?
- USDA Organic: This is the best guarantee that meat did not receive antibiotics routinely.
- Raised Without Antibiotics: This label is accurate and is usually accompanied by a ‘USDA Process Verified” label, which means the USDA has performed inspections to verify the meat producer is doing what they say.
- No Antibiotics Administered: This label is accurate and is usually accompanied by a ‘USDA Process Verified” label, which means the USDA has performed inspections to verify the meat producer is doing what they say.
- No Antibiotics ever: This label is accurate and is usually accompanied by a ‘USDA Process Verified” label, which means the USDA has performed inspections to verify the meat producer is doing what they say.
What Labels Do You Ignore?
- Antibiotic Free: Not approved by the USDA
- No Antibiotic residues: Not approved by the FDA
- No Growth promoting antibiotics: The FDA has stopped poultry producers from using growth promoting antibiotics with the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic act so that would mean they are in violation of this law if their logo is on food labels or meat labels.
- All Natural: This label has nothing to do with if the animal received antibiotics or not.
- Raised Without hormones or steroids: This label has nothing to do with if the animal received antibiotics or not.
- Natural: This means the poultry was processed without any artificial ingredients. This does not mean the poultry is organic, or contains no antibiotics.