Drug Residues in Meat

Drug Residues in Meat

“Drug Residues in Meat” One of the reasons we are increasingly
plagued with new superbugs is the mass feeding of
antibiotics to farm animals. As Britain’s chief medical officer
put it in his 2009 annual report: “every inappropriate…use [of antibiotics
in] agriculture is potentially signing a death warrant for a future patient.” Earlier this year, I had the
opportunity to debate some of the captains of industry,
like the National Pork Producers Council, on this dangerous practice of
feeding antibiotics to livestock: “To ask if there’s a question between
human drug resistance and livestock antibiotic use is like asking if there’s
human-induced climate change, or if there’s a link between
smoking and lung cancer. There are a few dissenting
industry scientists on one side, but then basically every
other scientist on the other. Both opposing camps have
scientists on their side, but only one really has
science on their side. One can just look at who’s
on the sides of this debate. In one corner, you have the
World Health Organization, the American Medical Association,
the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association,
and another 100 medical and public health organizations in the country. On the other side, you have the
National Turkey Federation, the National Chicken Council,
the Sheep Industry Association, the National Pork Producers. It could not be more stark…” I’ve always insisted that the reason it’s
dangerous to feed millions of pounds of antibiotics to cows, pigs,
and chickens every year— in part just to fatten them
faster for slaughter— is because this fosters antibiotic
resistance in bacteria that can then infect human beings— not because there’s a problem
with antibiotic drug residues getting into the meat itself. How wrong I was. In a damning report released earlier
this year, the U.S. Inspector General slammed the USDA for not
protecting the American public. As you can see in the
Executive Summary of the report, one of the public safety issues facing
the United States is the contamination of meat with residual drugs,
pesticides, and heavy metals. These drug and chemical residues then
find their way to our dinner plates. But in order to safeguard the nation’s
food supply from harmful residue, the USDA, FDA, and EPA are supposed
to test for these contaminants, and prevent adulterated meat
from entering the food supply. But, based on their review, the
Inspector General found that the National Residue Program is not
accomplishing its mission of monitoring the food supply for harmful residues. They haven’t even established threshold
values for many dangerous substances, which has resulted in contaminated meat
being distributed to consumers. And then the USDA’s Food
Safety and Inspection Service doesn’t even attempt to recall meat
confirmed to have excessive drug residues. What’s the problem with
not having safety thresholds? Well, for example, in 2008, Mexican
authorities rejected a shipment of U.S. beef because it contained
excessive levels of copper. But since we haven’t set a safety level
for copper, it was fine by U.S. standards; there weren’t any. So too dangerous to be sold in Mexico,
but good enough for U.S. consumers. There are more than a thousand pesticides
approved for use in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency
routinely asks the USDA to test for pesticides that everyone
agrees has high health risks. But, for many years now,
they continue to test for only one type of pesticide,
out of more than a thousand. What’s the big deal, though? What potential affects could the drugs
and toxic metals in meat have on people? Bleeding, ulcers, allergic reactions,
serious nerve damage, severe inflammation, skin cancers,
internal cancers, jaundice, kidney failure, neurotoxicity (kills
brain cells), and even death. Doesn’t cooking destroy the drugs, though? No amount of cooking
will destroy residues. In fact, in some cases, heat may actually
break residues down into components that are more harmful to consumers. And then, even when our government
finds these drugs in the meat, they don’t stop it from
contaminating the food supply. The inspector general noted a case
where a slaughterhouse found four drugs— Ivermectin, Sulfadimethozine,
Florfenicol, and Sulfamethazine— yet, released the meat from these
carcasses into the food supply— despite the fact that consuming
these drugs could result in stomach, nerve, or skin problems. But the USDA ordered no recall. Now, the USDA doesn’t actually have
the authority to demand a recall— which is a problem in itself. But they can, at any time,
ask, at least, the company to voluntarily recall the meat. So when’s the last time they asked a
company to recall their meat due to illegally high drug residues? The USDA hasn’t even asked since 1979. And this is not the first time
the USDA has been cited for failing to protect the public. This was exposed 25 years ago by
the National Academy of Sciences. So what happened? What happened in 1984, according
to the Inspector General, is that they signed an MOU. And then, the problem remained
unresolved for the next 25 years. So, that’s what we’ve
been eating all this time. So what does the Inspector
General propose now? #1 recommendation: start from scratch. The government needs to reestablish
the National Residue Program so it can accomplish its mission
of safeguarding the U.S. food supply. What will be the USDA’s response now? Maybe they’ll draw up another memo. In the meanwhile, if we insist on
doing drugs, though our diet, which meat has been found to have
the highest risk for contamination? It’s the veal. Think about how they’re
raised, you know.

6 thoughts on “Drug Residues in Meat

  1. @hamednasrabadi It'd be wonderful if you could post it to this specific video on nutritionfacts. org. This way more people benefit from the response, and I can actually provide you with links (which I can't do on Youtube). Thanks!

  2. u sound like uve matured in this video im lookin forward on your modern day perspective hopeful u havnt been bought out i wont judge u

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