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Poultry producers claim antibiotic use reduced. (News Flash!).

Three of America s largest poultry corporations, Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms, and Foster Farms, now claim that they have greatly reduced, if not eliminated, antibiotics from their chicken feed.

In the past, poultry producers insisted that their distribution of antibiotics was being carried out responsibly. However, The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that out of the 26.6 million pounds of antibiotics used for animals each year, only about two million pounds are being used to treat sick animals and the rest are used on healthy ones. Public health advocates argue that the overuse of these antibiotics not only creates resistance to those drugs themselves but also to related drugs used to treat human illness. Since October 2000, the FDA has been trying to ban fluroquinolones, specifically Baytril, an antibiotic produced by Bayer. The human version of Baytril, Cipro, is used to treat anthrax. A recent government report concludes that since the poultry industry gained permission to use fluoroquinolones, bacterial resistance among humans has gone up from about zero to fourteen percent. Even McDonald s has joined arms in the battle against Baytril, refusing to serve chickens treated with fluoroquinolones.

Foster Farms no longer uses them, but Tyson and Perdue still do. All three companies maintain that antibiotics are no longer administered preventatively. Nevertheless, treating a few sick birds necessitates treating an entire flock of 300,000. Although the decision to medicate more responsibly certainly represents an important transition in how our society uses antibiotics, it still does little to inform the public. Health conscious consumers be warned: unless your meat is labeled organic, you might as well assume that it has been treated.
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Publication:New Life Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2002
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