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…