Poultry Farming - Issues With Poultry Farming - Antibiotics


Antibiotics have been used on poultry in large quantities since the 1940s, when it was found that the byproducts of antibiotic production, fed because the antibiotic-producing mold had a high level of vitamin B12 after the antibiotics were removed, produced higher growth than could be accounted for by the vitamin B12 alone. Eventually it was discovered that the trace amounts of antibiotics remaining in the byproducts accounted for this growth.

The mechanism is apparently the adjustment of intestinal flora, favoring "good" bacteria while suppressing "bad" bacteria that provoke inflammation of the gut mucosa. So, the goal of antibiotics as a growth promoter is the same as for probiotics. Because the antibiotics used are not absorbed by the gut, they do not put antibiotics into the meat or eggs.

Antibiotics are used routinely in poultry for this reason, and also to prevent and treat disease. Many contend that this puts humans at risk as bacterial strains develop stronger and stronger resistances. Critics point out that, after six decades of heavy agricultural use of antibiotics, opponents of antibiotics must still make arguments about theoretical risks, since actual examples are hard to come by. All antibiotic-resistant strains of human diseases whose origin is known originated in hospitals rather than farms.

A proposed bill in the United States Congress would make the use of antibiotics in animal feed legal only for therapeutic (rather than preventative) use, but it has not been passed. However, this may present the risk of slaughtered chickens harboring pathogenic bacteria and passing them on to humans that consume them.

In October 2000, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) discovered that two antibiotics were no longer effective in treating diseases found in factory-farmed chickens; one antibiotic was swiftly pulled from the market, but the other, Baytril, was not. Bayer, the company which produced it, contested the claim and as a result, Baytril remained in use until July 2005.

To prevent any residues of antibiotics in chicken meat, any given antibiotics are required to have a "withdrawal" period before they can be slaughtered. Samples of poultry at slaughter are randomly tested by the FSIS, and shows a very low percentage of residue violations

Read more about this topic:  Poultry Farming, Issues With Poultry Farming

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Famous quotes containing the word antibiotics:

    Even diseases have lost their prestige, there aren’t so many of them left.... Think it over ... no more syphilis, no more clap, no more typhoid ... antibiotics have taken half the tragedy out of medicine.
    Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894–1961)