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Drug Residues in Meat

If you’ve been following my posts here at Care2, then you knew about pink slime long before it became big news (remember my What’s in a Fast Food Burger?). While pink slime has a definite “yuck factor,” it’s time now to turn our attention to meat industry practices that pose a significant public threat, such as the industry practice of routinely lacing pig and chicken feed with millions of pounds of antibiotics every year. This can both create a breeding ground for multi-drug resistant “superbugs” and leave drug residues in the meat as detailed in the video above.

Last week, a landmark court case was won by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Food Animal Concerns Trust, Public Citizen, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. The ruling will force the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to honor its decades-old promise to stop factory farms from feeding millions of pounds of penicillin and tetracycline antibiotics to farm animals. Now it’s time to expand that to all classes of antibiotics critical to human medicine.

This month I was honored to be on CNN with Representative Slaughter—Congress’s only microbiologist—who reintroduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act to help stem the dangerous overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. The legislation is backed by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, and more than a hundred other health organizations. On the other side is the likes of the National Chicken Council, the National Turkey Federation, and the National Pork Producers Council.

The reason the bill faces an uphill battle despite this stark contrast is that the public health community is facing not one, but two of the most powerful lobbies—not just agribusiness, but also the pharmaceutical industry that profits from the sale of the drugs. By harnessing the collective outrage generated by the pink slime controversy, however, consumer advocates might be able to help tip the scales.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

P.S. Other factory farming practices that deserve additional scrutiny are the implantation of anabolic steroids, the feeding of arsenic-containing drugs to chickens and turkeys, and the genetic manipulation of dairy cows to lactate into the third trimester of their pregnancy.

Image credit: Pat Corkery / U.S. Department of Energy

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Dr. Michael Greger

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at


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7:43AM PST on Jan 10, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

1:16AM PDT on Apr 5, 2012

Now there's a shocker. Not. Glad I don't eat animals.

12:09PM PDT on Apr 4, 2012

Oh boy.

8:24PM PDT on Apr 1, 2012

It is the height of arrogance to think that all other living things are created for our dining table.
Only slightly different from the cannibal who thought that strangers could be eaten!

11:15AM PDT on Mar 30, 2012

Though I completely agree that antibiotic use in factory farms is a HUGE problem, I couldn't help but have a laugh at Dr. Gergens expense for being a hypocrite.

In this video, he shows himself testifying that only a handful of doctors/scientists disagree with the mass majority about this antibiotic overuse, and that that handful should be ignored. But in his very next post here on care2, he tells us we should listen to the handful of doctors who advocate for vegan diets despite the fact that the majority disagree with them!

2:31AM PDT on Mar 30, 2012

cows, pigs chickens ... no matter how disgusting their dead rotting flesh is ... people are still eating them. crazy! but then again i do not eat GM foods either. in germany we do not allow GM foods! :D and i am happily vegetarian! :D :D :D

1:57AM PDT on Mar 30, 2012

we can't even imagine what we eat!!! we shouldn't eat fast food, but then again almost every food is contaminated with something coz the whole world is!!!

5:24PM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

In New Zealand we do not feed our animals anything except what they're built to eat. Anti-biotics are used only for an infection in one animal. So look for New Zealand meat - it's safe.

2:40PM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

It's easy to avoid all the problems with meat; don't eat it. (Or any other animal products). Period.

2:26PM PDT on Mar 29, 2012

It would be nice to think that the crap in our food is creating 'super bugs'. The crap in our food is harming our immune system. The 'super bugs' are being made in a lab.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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I love it! Excellent commercial!

I agree with Debbie P. What do you do with large animals? Mine are 75 & 95 pounds. They will go …


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