Antibiotics in meat

It is not a secret that for the cultivation of farm animals antibiotics are used. Usually, antibiotics in meat industry are used to prevent bacterial infections. However, antibiotics have been used quite often for stimulation of a rapid growth of animals in these latter days.

Meat producers mix antibiotics with animal food and water or apply them directly to the skin of animals. Such measures are taken at the initial stage of animal breeding. New antibiotics allow to grow healthy animals very quickly.

Preventive measures against bacterial infections cannot ensure you get a healthy and harmless meat. Thus, specialists keep finding high amount of antibiotics in meat of some manufacturers.

This happens because meat producers misuse the drugs. Often in animal husbandry, antibiotics are used in doses exceeding maximum allowable values.

Changing the dose regimen and using high doses of antibiotics lead to that harmful bacteria start mutating, becoming resistant to antibiotics. As a result, bacteria keep living and multiplying in animals’ bodies.

In the end, meat containing both bacteria and antibiotics hits the shelves, and after all that, people buy and eat the infected meat. So, one reasonable question arises: «How dangerous are bacteria and antibiotics in this meat?».

In fact, people can be infected with some resistant bacteria from products of meat industry, and that’s not the only problem. The human body becomes less and less resistant to infections (immunity), if it constantly receives micro doses of antibiotic drugs.

Everybody knows that drugs to fight bacterial infections may cause side effects. Antibiotics in meat are found in minimal doses, but this amount is enough to provoke allergy and other adverse reactions.

How do we get rid of bacteria and antibiotics in meat, milk or eggs?

A significant part of meat, produced by large agricultural companies, contains bacteria resistant to antibiotics and other medications. Typically, bacteria are neutralized during cooking process and thus they are not dangerous for people’s health.

A long-term heat treatment kills all pathogen microorganisms in meat products. However, those who prefer raw meat dishes or rare beefsteaks are at high risk of infection.

If we use high doses of antibiotics to prevent diseases in poultry and animals, then active pharmaceutical ingredients will be accumulated in meat, milk or eggs. It is not so difficult to remove antibiotics from meat, but it takes time. If you boil meat for about 30-60 minutes, then all the antibiotics are left in the broth.

To certain types of antibiotics (for instance, Tetracycline) can completely disappear from eggs or milk, you need to boil them at least for 30 minutes. Frankly, you will hardly find a person, who is patient enough to wait that long to remove antibiotics from chicken meat, eggs or milk.

To learn what kind of antibiotic and how much of it is found in meat products, people use some advanced methods of determining of antibiotics in meat. These methods are used in laboratory or home environment.

If you want to check meat, egg or milk for the presence of antibiotics, just buy some express tests. Such tests are easy to use and do not require special equipment. New express tests can show the result in 5 minutes. Using these tests, you can detect the conformity of products with sanitary norms and standards.

Legislative control

The market of animal antibiotics is quite large, increasing every year. Medical studies have established a connection between the increasing number of antibiotics used in cattle breeding and the growing number of people, who had suffered from consumption of meat containing resistant bacteria.

The World Health Organization (WHO) conducted some trials, confirming a negative impact of antibiotics on cattle breeding. The WHO recommended to reduce or to stop using antibiotics for a fast growth of animals. This applies to antibiotics, which are used for treatment of humans in the first place.

Most national health controlling authorities developed a special system to control the sales of antibiotics in cattle breeding industry. These measures allowed to reduce the amount of antibiotics or other drugs in meat.

The FDA (USA) has prohibited a free use of some antibiotics, growth stimulants and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory products (for example, Flunixin meglumine). The FDA cooperates with national meat manufacturers and farms, controlling the approved or recommended amount of antibiotics in meat.

If you want to buy meat that does not contain antibiotics, be prepared to pay higher price for it. This is due to the fact that production of meat without antibiotics requires more time and money. Today, less than 10% of such meat products are presented on the USA market, but this number increases every year.

Although the price of meat without antibiotics is quite high, specialists believe that it will steadily decrease. The social pressure and high demand on uninfected meat force the manufacturers to refuse from using antibiotics little by little. The competition and increase in the production volumes allow to reduce the price of meat without antibiotics.

Actually, meat industry is unimaginable without antibiotics. Animals, as well as people are prone to infectious diseases that require timely treatment (including antibacterial therapy). Meat manufacturers can use advanced technologies, but they must take full responsibility for safety of their products and health of potential consumers.