Dr. Josh Axe published the second annual Chain Reaction II scorecard analysis of top restaurants on his website. The analysis supposedly highlights the “problem of routine antibiotic usage” in the meat and poultry operations that supply the nation’s top restaurant chains. The report is sponsored by organizations such as National Resources Defense Council, Consumers Union, Friends of the Earth and Center for Food Safety, organizations that reflect misinformation and ideology.
How restaurants are scored
To score an “A” a restaurant is required to only serve meat where animals have never been given antibiotics or given antibiotics important to human medicine. To score an “F” a restaurant serves meat that may have been given antibiotics and if they did receive antibiotics, have followed the prescribed withdrawal times to ensure the antibiotics are naturally removed from the animal before market.
The bottom line?
Both restaurants that scored an “A” or “F” serve meat that has zero antibiotics in the meat.
Just a perfect example of a bully pushing fake news and using intimidation to force these restaurants into making changes that are not needed. Your meat is safe.
Let’s examine the food fear and why words matter.
Let’s delve into some of the outright WRONG statements
The vast majority of this meat is produced in industrial-scale facilities where thousands and even tens of thousands of animals at a time are routinely fed antibiotics to help them survive and make them grow faster in unsanitary, crowded and stressful conditions.
Livestock animals are not fed antibiotics on a routine basis to help them survive and make them grow faster. Using antibiotics for growth promotion is illegal. Also realize that “unsanitary, crowded and stressful conditions” animals will not grow at acceptable levels and more than likely will not be healthy. Farmers can ONLY sell healthy animals so that statement is absolutely not true and is simply used as a scare tactic.
I hate the word “routine” because it implies they are used on an automatic basis. Not true.
This misuse of antibiotics contributes to antibiotic resistance—the ability of bacteria to withstand exposure to an antibiotic.
Yes, antibiotic resistance is a concern. And it is about misusing antibiotics. But let’s remember that humans also use antibiotics. Farmers understand the issue of antibiotic resistance and have been proactive. That is why as of January 1, 2017, farmers are required to work closely with a veterinarian and a prescription (given by veterinarian) is needed to give animals antibiotics.
Using the word misuse is just plain wrong. Farmers do not misuse the use of antibiotics.
Curbing the misuse of antibiotics in the meat industry is a public heath imperative.
Misuse is just not happening. Fake news. Antibiotics are used as a last resort, but we will use them if necessary. If an animal is sick, it is our responsibility to take care of them. And we make no excuses about it. Period.
. . . set rules across the industry that prohibit the routine use of antibiotics in food animal production for growth promotion and disease prevention, and to set baseline standards that limit acceptable use to treatment of sick animals and to control identified disease outbreaks.
Antibiotics for growth promotion?
Again, we DO NOT use antibiotics for growth promotion. Occasionally, we use them for disease prevention. Farmers, who work with their animals daily, really understand the types of stresses that may cause a disease outbreak. During those times, we use a few antibiotics to prevent a full outbreak instead of waiting for the full outbreak to happen and then use significantly more antibiotics to treat the outbreak. Again, common sense.
Another piece the report doesn’t touch on is the preventative measures farmers use to either eliminate or greatly reduce antibiotic use. We are continually making improvements to raise safe and healthy animals. But if that was in the report, it wouldn’t scare the bejeebers out of people reading it. And worst, no one would pay attention to it because there is no sensationalism.
I truly wish these kind of reports did not exist. It only works because consumers do not understand what farmers do every single day to raise healthy animals. And the authors know it. It’s used to spread fake news and put undue pressure on restaurants forcing them into policies that look good to the public but really don’t make sense or policies they can’t really reach.
So let’s say enough is enough. Seek out farmers. Ask questions. And use words that do matter.
More resources on raising livestock: