If your social media pages are anything like mine they are filled with claims that something you eat, drink, or wrap yourself in has miracle and restorative properties. While these products may help you loose weight, look younger, and feel better, is there really really any truth to them?
I recently saw a headline that said researchers have found that essential oils could help reduce antibiotics in poultry. My immediate thought… is this woo or is this true?
MeatingPlace.com reported that Cargill researchers have found that essential oils can be a viable alternative to antibiotics to promote gut health in a poultry feeding program. It was found that certain essential oil compounds, particularly those derived from thyme, cinnamon, and oregano had the most comprehensive effect on overall gut health. Benefits included antimicrobial activity, modulation of immune response, antioxidant activity, improvement of nutrient digestibility, and stimulation of mucus production, the company said.
Cargill indicated the essential oils were particularly efficient in conditions where intestinal infections such as Salmonellosis and Coccidiosis were present, and were most effective when combined with organic acids. In addition, combined results from 12 trials showed that birds given Cargill’s Promote Biacid Nucleus additive, which contains a mixture of seven essential oil compounds, in combination with an antibiotic-free diet, improved body weight gain by 2% and feed conversion by 1.5%, the company said.
Cargill said it has been researching the use of non-medicated feed additives for several years as an alternative to antibiotic growth promoters. Since 2009, it has conducted a total of 77 trials on additives including essential oils, probiotics, yeast derivatives, and medium chain fatty acids. “Only essential oils have both a broad spectrum of activity against pathogens and a direct impact on digestive function,” said Stephanie Ladirat, global technology lead for gut health additives in Cargill’s animal nutrition business.
It is interesting that this research has been going on for seven years, no doubt we will see/hear more about essential oils and natural medicine for animal agriculture in the future. Being the skeptic I am, I have decided to research these essential oils a little further to see what else I can find about their supposed claims to being an alternative to antibiotics. Stay tuned as I will do a follow up post after doing some research.
** Note: I am not endorsing essential oils or their use, I am just merely investigating uses in animal agriculture.
Dr. Brad Jones, a veterinarian with the University of Nebraska and Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center talks about the decision-making process regarding antibiotic use in cattle and pigs, including the diagnosis of illnesses, treatment and antibiotic use considerations, and how animals are tracked from antibiotic administration to harvest.
This video by North American Meat Institute (NAMI) is part of the “Glass Walls” series which are designed to offer a behind the scenes tours of meat harvest facilities, how meat products are made, and more. You can watch more of the Glass Walls videos here.
McDonalds and Costco made headlines last week when they announced a campaign to eliminate the sale of food products treated with antibiotics. While many consumers rejoiced, others questioned the need for such a proclamation. Are farmers needlessly injecting their animals with antibiotics? Is there antibiotic residue in the meat we eat? How can consumers be assured their food is truly safe? As a small meat processor, I have seen firsthand the USDA’s commitment to this issue. Countless hours have been spent discussing preventative measures and receiving training to ensure that the food produced within my facility is safe for human consumption.
In order to be eligible for slaughter, animals must be able to walk off the trailer and pass an ante-mortem inspection…things that are not always easy when sick livestock are involved. While the media would have consumers believe that antibiotics are unnecessarily pumped into healthy animals, the truth is…
I have completed my first full year of blogging! While I was not the most diligent blogger, I learned a lot, met some great people, and had some great conversations. My social media goals and expectations were exceeded! Many thanks to you, my readers for your interest. I have new ideas for blog posts and delivery methods in 2015, so stay tuned!
It has been awhile since I have done a Fun Fact Friday post. I saw this list pop up on BuzzFeed yesterday, and I thought it was great.
The American Meat Institute put together a list of 15 common myths about meat and meat production and provides the FACTS to disprove these myths. They are honest and TRUE! If you would like more resources or information about any of the facts presented, please let me know – I would be more than happy to visit with you!
Today, in Part 4, we will discuss some consumer perception research about antibiotic use.
Why do we still have concerns? Let’s take a look at some of the consumer research…
Recently Midan Marketing and Danette Amstein released a consumer survey called Consumers and Antibiotic Use: Perspectives and Marketing. Consumers are hearing about antibiotic use in livestock through many sources (respondents could select more than one source): 46% from national news, 34% from local news, 27% from social media, 27% from friends/colleagues/relatives, and 26% from t.v. talk shows, respectively.Twenty three percent of consumers indicated their primary concern with antibiotics was the effect it could have on their family.
It should not be a secret that livestock get antibiotics. Just like us, animals get sick sometimes and they need antibiotics to get better.
From the following statements, which do you think are true?
Antibiotics are administered when livestock are susceptible to getting sick, are exposed to illness, or show specific signs of being sick.
Livestock antibiotics make our food supply safer.
There are no antibiotics in fresh meat sold at the grocery store.
The U.S. government monitors antibiotic resistance and mandates that meat entering the food supply can have no signs of antibiotic use (residue) exceeding FDA standards.
Like doctors and their patients, veterinarians and their farmer/rancher clients share responsibility for the proper use of antibiotics.
All antibiotics used to treat animals are approved by the FDA, and are safe with regard to human health, animal health, and the environment.
All of these statements are true! But according to the research by Midan Marketing, consumers had varying levels of agreement to these statements.
I know this blog post just barely skims the surface of the antibiotic resistance problem, but I hope it has provided you with an overview of why cattle are fed antibiotics and the responsible use of antibiotics by beef farmers. Trust me, beef farmers do not want a resistance problem anymore than you or me, so they are doing all they can do to ensure that doesn’t happen! Next time you hear about antibiotic residue in meat, I hope you will remember that livestock farmers follow antibiotic withdrawal dates very seriously and that there are several government agencies tasked with guaranteeing a safe food supply. I truly believe the U.S. has one of the safest food supplies in the world, and I have no hesitations about consuming products produced here or feeding them to my family.