Do You Know What’s in Your Meat?
When I was in Barnes and Nobles a couple of weeks ago I found a
Consumer Reports Magazine at the register. The featured article was
called, “What’s Really in Your Meat.” It’s all about drugs in meats. I
couldn’t resist. I had to buy it…
I found this to be an interesting read because I try stay away from
unnecessary medications. I avoid putting things into my body which can
cause new and unexpected problems. Problems that make the original
issue seem like nothing. After all, the treatment is sometimes worse
than the cure. Sometimes medications simply cover up the problem and do
not actually treat or resolve it.
And also – I often feel a bit insecure about farming. It’s hard.
Absolutely the hardest thing I’ve ever done. This article reaffirmed
that I’m doing something good for the world.
The following drugs often turn up in U.S. meats:
These drugs should not occur in meat at all due to a zero tolerance policy!
-an antibiotic which can trigger
life threatening aplastic anemia at any exposure level in 1 in 10,000
people. Levels over what is acceptable by Department of Agriculture’s
Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) were found in 2.6% of samples
taken from beef, chicken, pork, and turkey.
Phenylbutazone, an anti-inflamatory
- that is no longer allowed for use in humans. It can be carcinogenic and can cause
cancer and blood disorders in humans. It was found to exceed FSIS’s
cut-off range in 24 of 1,448 samples.
-an anesthetic and experimental
antidepressant which doubles as an illegal hallucinogenic . Found to
exceed FSIS’s cut-off range in 225 of 4,313 samples.
-an anti-fungal which likely causes cancer. Found to exceed FSIS’s cut-off range in 667 of 5,756 samples.
According to Consumer Reports, FSIS sets their threshold for levels
of these drugs on the high side. Consumer Reports believes that the
acceptable levels should be much lower. Furthermore, FSIS is testing
only muscle meat and not kidney and liver – organs where these drugs
would be found in higher concentration. The logic behind this is that
most American consumers are not eating the kidney and liver!
How do these banned drugs get into U.S. meats?
-This can mean animals were given incorrect doses or that the animals were slaughtered before the drug cleared their systems.
-Counterfeit drugs originating in China and India used in livestock.
-Accordingly to industry
insiders, this seems a likely explanation. Feed can become contaminated
when sick animals who were treated with these medications before
slaughter are fed to other livestock. Contamination could also be
introduced at a feed mill – where for instance these drugs may have been
mixed into one batch of feed intentionally, but the mill was not
cleaned between batches resulting in contamination of the following
-Trace amounts of these drugs
from use in humans could be present in run-off water or the soil and
make their way into feed consumed by animals.
What’s being done about it?
It would not appear that a whole lot is being done about it!
Penalties, which include warning letters, injunctions, seizures and
placing offenders on a publicly reported list, are frequently
What you can do as a consumer:
That’s easy – get to know your farmer!
Find one you trust.
Go visit their farm.
See for yourself just how the animals are raised.
Ask your farmer lots of questions. Trust me – we love it! I know I could talk farm all day…
Look for grass fed and grass finished beef, lamb and goat. These
animals were raised outside – like they were meant to be. There is very
little need for medications when animals are raised with Mother Nature.
Find pastured chicken and eggs. Then go visit the farm and verify
that the chickens actually live on pasture. There is no government
approved label defining pastured chicken, so this is one that you will
have to verify for sure.
Buy pastured, free-range, wood-lot or forested pork. Pigs were meant
to live outside! They are actually very clean creatures given proper
space in an outdoor environment.
Come for a visit on October 20th.
It’s our first ever Open Farm Day, where you can see for yourself just how your meat is raised.
Source – Consumer Reports, October 2018