CU refutes meat industry claims about antibiotics campaign
By Consumers Union on Friday, August 3rd, 2012
Consumers Union this week fired back to a letter sent by meat producers to several members of Congress that called into question the accuracy of many facts laid out in our Meat On Drugs report regarding the industry’s use of antibiotics in livestock production.
Released in June, ‘Meat On Drugs’ calls on meat producers to stop using antibiotics for disease prevention and growth promotion in animals, and asks supermarkets to be part of the solution by only sourcing meat that is raised without antibiotics.
The report touched a nerve with meat producers, who sent a letter to two House Committees on agriculture challenging several assertions in the report. Consumers Union’s heavily-researched response, sent this week, refutes many of the industry’s claims, adding further support and clarification to arguments laid out in the report.
Specific points were made regarding the statistic that 80% of antibiotics sold in the US are given to food animals, the fact that current industry practices do not maximize animal health and food safety, and the success in Denmark as an example of a meat production system that has phased out the use of antibiotics and seen a reduction in antibiotic resistance (in both food animals and humans).
Consumers Union also strongly disagreed with the meat producers’ claim that the use of antibiotics is “critical to making food safe”, stating that in fact our food is more unsafe because of the antibiotic-resistant illnesses we are exposed to as a result of the overuse and misuse of these critical drugs.
The full response from Consumers Union is available here.