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June 20th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Report: Consumers demand drug-free meat

If you prefer your meat without antibiotics, you're not alone, according to a new study from Consumers Union – the group that publishes Consumer Reports magazine.

In a nationwide survey of more than a thousand people, Consumers Union found that 86% of people said they would like to see more antibiotic-free meat on store shelves, and more than 60% said they'd be willing to pay more for it.

"If we are going to tackle this problem, we have to reduce the use in animals," said Jean Halloran, the Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union. "The government seems unable to take this step, so we're looking at the marketplace. It's supermarkets who stock these products, and consumers who buy them."

Secret shoppers from the consumer advocacy group visited 136 supermarkets in 23 states looking at the availability of drug-free meat, and found that some chains did better than others.

"Clearly the leader in the industry is Whole Foods, because all of their meat was produced without antibiotics," Halloran said.

Four chains: Giant, Hannaford, Shaw's and Stop & Shop had all four types of meat products – beef, pork, chicken and turkey – available in antibiotic free varieties; while Publix and Trader Joe's offered some cuts of meat without the antibiotics. 

Four other chains: Sam's Club, Food 4 Less, Food Lion and Save-A-Lot had no drug-free options visible in their stores. 

The National Supermarket Association did not have a comment when asked by CNN.

Antibiotics have been used in animal feed since the 1950s when farmers found that feeding the drugs to their livestock caused them to grow bigger, faster and with less feed, which ultimately helped big farms save money, and produce less expensive meat.  But public health experts say the use of antibiotics in animals – which accounts for 80% of all antibiotic use in the United States, according to the report- is likely contributing to the rise in antibiotic-resistant infections in humans.

"Inappropriate and irrational use of medicines provides favourable conditions for resistant microorganisms to emerge and spread," the World Health Organization states on its website.   Earlier this year, while addressing an international meeting on antibiotic resistance, WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said: "Worldwide, the fact that greater quantities of antibiotics are used in healthy animals than in unhealthy humans is a cause for great concern."

Regarding cost, Consumers Union found that many stores had affordable antibiotic-free options.

"We've proved meat without antibiotics doesn't have to be expensive," said Halloran. "We compared antibiotic-free meat prices to the prices of other national meat products, and found the cost to be comparable, and in some cases lower than traditional products."

Through their website, MeatWithoutDrugs.org, Consumers Union is calling on consumers to influence change with their buying practices and send a message to meat producers that antibiotic-free meat is what shoppers are demanding.

Consumers Union also is challenging supermarket chains – specifically Trader Joe's, who it says has always been ahead of the game in offering healthier, more natural food options – to adopt the cause.

"We're calling Trader Joe's in particular to be the next company that offers all meat and poultry without antibiotics," Halloran said. "Whole Foods currently has that policy, and we hope that Trader Joe's will step up next."

Consumers Union also is calling on the United States Department of Agriculture to establish a standardized, national labeling practice to identify meat that is antibiotic free.

Currently, there is no labeling standards for drug free meat products, but until there is, the researchers say, foods labeled "organic" are, by definition, required to be antibiotic-free.

In addition, they say consumers can generally rely on labels that explicitly say "no antibiotics," but should be wary of terms like "natural," "antibiotic-free," "no antibiotic residues" and "no antibiotic growth promotants," as these terms can be misleading.

But a coalition of agricultural advocacy organizations – including the American Meat Institute, the National Cattleman's Beef Association, the National Chicken Council, the National Pork Producers Council and the National Turkey Federation -  do not agree that there is a problem. 

"The research is clear that the contribution of using antibiotics in food-animal production to the human burden of antibiotic resistance is quite small, if it exists at all," the coalition said in a letter to Congress in June.

However, it added that it, along with other public health professionals "are serious about reducing the risks of antibiotic resistance and are working to minimize those risks."


soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Steve Kopperud

    I long for the days when the Consumers Union was apolitical and not a flak for Whole Foods...anyone who knows anything about polling - and CU should - knows that when you ask a "supermarket shopper" about criteria affects what they'll say...pre-shopping they'll talk about all of the food safety nonsensee they're bombarded with; post-shopping they talk price and convenience...this isn't to say they don't care, it's just not top of mind as CU would have us believe. The other factor that needs to be worked into the CU survey –it's not a "report" by any means - is did they ask if consumers wanted to buy meat and dairy from animals they had been sick, treated, sick, treated, etc. This has everything to do with the fact herd animals and flocks of birds get sick regardless of production system. This CU "report" is simply a political tool - why doesn't spend as much time and money on getting doctors to stop overprescribing antibiotics and hospitals to impose hygiene standards that preclude the use of antibiotics to fight nosocomial infections contracted why trying to get well. CU should be embarrassed by this kind of stunt.

    June 20, 2012 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Crystal

      Antibiotics in "FARM" animals, accounts for 80% of all antibiotic use in the United States. THIS IS A FACT. So you think this is OK. What factory farm do you work for? Factory farms ARE NOT FARMS!

      June 20, 2012 at 11:52 | Report abuse |
    • Dale

      Steve- You should consider educating yourself on what Consumers Union actually does and has been doing for decades before throwing out such accusations. A good start would be at their patient safety site safepatientproject(dot)org

      June 20, 2012 at 11:58 | Report abuse |
    • The_Mick

      They don't spend more time with doctors overprescribing antibiotics because the TOTAL use of antibiotics in human medicine is only 2/3 as much as is used in meat production. Additionally, there's concern with other drugs like growth hormones. This was a joke when I was a chemist in graduate school in the 70's: "How many scientists does it take to make a chemical which will increase weight gain in cattle 20% on the same feed?" The answer: "51. One to synthesis diethyl stilbestrol and 50 to find a cure for cancer." Note that many countries will NOT accept American chickens, certain flour, etc. because of the chemicals we use.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:22 | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Nobody is demanding introduction of antibiotics ban. It's about labeling. I do not see why labeling the meat is a bad thing ? It's just more choice. It should not be required, but manufacturer should be able to certify their meet as "no antibiotics", at their own cost. The only thing that is required is some sort of standard that can be enforced to insure customers are not confused.

      June 21, 2012 at 20:52 | Report abuse |
    • FitnessJunky

      Check this blog out.... http://fitweblog.com/

      June 22, 2012 at 00:09 | Report abuse |
  2. Saywhatyoumean

    Ummm, whatever CU has for an agenda does not matter to me. As the WHO states, antibiotics used in food animals are being linked to resistant diseases we thought were eradicated decades ago. I'll put my health and the health of my kids any day over the meat industries profits.

    June 20, 2012 at 09:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Devid

      Hi,I previously emeliad you Prof, but have not heard back. I mentioned that I have a chronic problem with both feet that causes pain and/or discomfort when I walk. I also had a compound fracture of the right tibia in 1968. I would very much like to try a few sessions with the SCENAR, and if it is effective, I will purchase one and also take the training. In my previous email I asked if there was anyone available in the Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley area that I could go to for a few SCENAR sessions. I have not heard back from you. Can you please email me back at I'm very enthusiastic about the SCENAR and its possible use for myself (and others.) Thank you,Bart Ellis

      November 16, 2012 at 02:53 | Report abuse |
  3. Susan

    It's actually pretty tough to raise meat animals without antibiotics – speaking from experience growing up on a small farm. City folks may not realize what they are asking for – the little buggers, just like our children, do get sick from time to time; and sickness can rage through a whole farm pretty quickly. Sometimes despite our best efforts, we lost quite a few. Think about trying to raise your kids completely drug free from birth to 12 or so. Just sayin'

    June 20, 2012 at 09:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Primal 4 Life

      Not true at all. Please Google Joel Saltin. Read about his outstanding farm Poly Face.

      June 20, 2012 at 11:04 | Report abuse |
    • Cherries

      But you probably only give antibiotics to cattle when they are sick, not all the time. And you probably won't butcher an animal when they're on a round of antibiotics either. Home grown beef/pork/chicken is the only way to go!

      June 20, 2012 at 11:38 | Report abuse |
    • Crystal

      So that was what 30 years ago? Google factory farms and you see see what is going on TODAY.

      June 20, 2012 at 11:54 | Report abuse |
    • Sara

      Would you give your child antibiotics for prophylactic use or do you put them on antibiotics when they are sick? The latter I'm sure. These large scale factory farms give these animals antibiotics when they are not sick(for prophylactic use). This is unethical and is one of the main reasons for antibiotic resistance seen today.

      June 20, 2012 at 16:04 | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      None of my kids, or any kids I know of, receive daily, sub-clinical doses of antibiotics every single day of their lives. And none receive them to counteract the effects of being fed a diet they aren't suited to consume and produces ulcers; without that constant drip of antibiotics, the ulcers would kill the animals before they reached marketable weight.

      We're not talking about treatment of disease here; we're talking about a practice used to counterbalance a feeding practice that is wrong to begin with, and one that ultimately causes harm beyond the animals it is used on when the environment it creates produces antibiotic resistant bacteria.

      No other civilized nation permits this abuse, and they all seem to raise livestock without difficulty.

      June 22, 2012 at 03:09 | Report abuse |
  4. Hoagsland

    Morning Robin. We just saw your report on antibiotics in meat and as a cattle rancher in Kansas I have to say I'm very disappointed in the explanation used as to why we administer antibiotics. Vaccinations are given to prevent the spread of common diseases in cattle the same way humans have vaccinations for the flu, tetanus, etc. We administer antibiotics to cattle only if they become sick to prevent the spread of the sickness along with pain or possibly death in that cow. If we were to cease these treatments, disease would spread through the nations cowherd wiping out its size causing a steep rise in beef costs which inevitably would be hard on our consumers.

    I would appreciate you sharing this comment next time you air your segment in order to give the truth from the rancher equal air time. Thank you!

    June 20, 2012 at 10:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • juniper

      Actually, I don't think this is directed at cattle ranchers, as the cattle are still eating grass on the ranchm and only given antibiotics for acceptable reasons and for acceptable amounts of time. What they're referring to is the corn, chicken litter filler and who knows what else + antibiotics fed to cattle at feed lots. Cows weren't meant to eat corn. It makes them very sick and knocks the bacteria in their stomachs out of whack, which allows bad bacteria to grow. THAT is why they are preventatively given antibiotics in their feed. Not that it does any good, their livers would eventually blow out anyway. Cows should NOT be eating grains. They are ruminants.

      June 20, 2012 at 14:29 | Report abuse |
    • A scientist

      The problem is that while some ranchers do what you describe, many farmers give antibiotics prophylactically to all cattle. There is no way for a consumer to distinguish between cattle raised with responsible antibiotic use and one raised with prophylactic antibiotics. Therefore, your disappointment should not be directed at CNN, but instead at your fellow farmers who have irresponsibly used antibiotics, thus painting your entire industry in a bad light.

      June 20, 2012 at 17:37 | Report abuse |
  5. cessie

    FOR THE PAST 3 YEARS I HAVE BEEN BUYING ONLY 'OMAHA STEAK CO"; MEATS. GOOD SALES AND FREE SHIPPING DEALS MAKE THIS MEAT CHEAPER THAT SUPERMARKET PRICES. IT IS TRIMMED, BONELESS, FREEZER PREPARED AND EXTREMELY TASTY. THEIR BEEF,PORK, AND CHICKEN ARE BOTH HORMONE AND ANTI BIOTIC FREE. AND DELIVERED RIGHT TO YOUR DOOR. ITS A NO BRAINER. NO, I HAVE NO CONNECTION TO THIS COMPANY OTHER THAN AS A CONSUMER.

    June 20, 2012 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Johnnyboy

      Sure you don't, I guess that is why you typed IN CAPS?

      June 20, 2012 at 14:33 | Report abuse |
    • skeptical

      Yes, and from what I hear, as soon as you buy one thing from them, they will hound you for the rest of your life.

      June 20, 2012 at 17:50 | Report abuse |
  6. Primal 4 Life

    Get rid of feed lots. Pasture the cows from start to finish on grass. No drugs needed. Problem solved.

    This kind of beef is superior to grain fed feedlot beef in every possible way.

    June 20, 2012 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Crystal

      I agree

      June 20, 2012 at 11:46 | Report abuse |
    • Vetta

      Agree 100%. Grass fed is the way to go.

      June 20, 2012 at 11:52 | Report abuse |
    • c s

      I agree that grass fed beef hamburger tastes better. After eating it, you will not like "regular" hamburger.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:05 | Report abuse |
  7. Beef Queen

    As someone who grew up raising cattle, I can tell you that it's impossible to raise animals of any kind without one or two getting sick at one time or another. When people get sick, the doctor gives them antibiotics to make them better. You would never take antibiotics for no reason, would you? On our farm, and 99% of farms, that is the case. The majority of farmers (I say majority because there are always going to be a couple of bad apples, no matter what industry you're in) only give animals antibiotics when they're sick, and as soon as the animal is better, the antibiotics stop.

    Antibiotics for animals also come with a label that tells the person administrating the antibiotic what the "withdrawal time" is for that medicine. Withdrawal time is the amount of time that that animal's products (including milk and meat) have to be kept out of the food chain because the antibiotic will still be in the animal's system. The majority of farmers follow those withdrawal times to prevent any traces of antibiotics from entering the food system.

    I strongly encourage everyone to talk to farmers in their local community. Most farmers are very willing to talk about their life's passion–agriculture–and share their knowledge and farming practices with consumers and the general public.

    June 20, 2012 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • c s

      This article is not about treating sick animals with antibiotics. It is about putting antibiotics in feed and giving it to the animals all the time. The use of antibiotics in animals for growth promotion needs to be eliminated. Would you take antibiotics without being sick?

      June 20, 2012 at 12:11 | Report abuse |
    • A scientist

      It is simply untrue that the majority of antibiotics are given to sick animals. Most objective studies have estimated that 70-90% of antibiotics used on farms are given to healthy animals.

      And when Congress introduced a bill (H.R. 1549/S 619) banning use of antibiotics prophylactically in healthy animals, the US Cattleman's Association, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Council all lobbied against it, claiming that prophylactic antibiotics in healthy animals are essential for allowing US farms to compete in the international market. So it would seem as though your own industry's trade groups disagree with you.

      June 20, 2012 at 18:08 | Report abuse |
  8. PLZ

    Stop contaminating our livestock with garbage.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Blueangel

    I would like to know the consequences of not using them before I decided, and no, I would not pay more. The price should be less because that is an expense saving thing for the farmer. What kind of diseases would you get if you ate meat from a sick cow? And is this what is preventing our food supply from getting diseases like mad cow disease? This is not ever addressed. What do these antibiotics actually do to us? No one knows. This is an issue that I wouldn't mind paying taxes to research. I don't care what "consumers think" quit paying for surveys and use the money to do actual scientific research.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • oganicalltheway

      read the article again then do some research if you still don't get it. The animals are given antibiotics so the get bigger with less feed, it is economically better for the farm industry and the pharmacutical industry to pump up the livestock with drugs. Has NOTHING to do with keeping our food supply safe! If they (big agra/pharma and the government)wanted a healthy food supply free of disease they would have laws regulating clean healthy living conditions for the livestock and keep chemicals, GMOs and drugs OUT of the industry.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:56 | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      "What kind of diseases would you get if you ate meat from a sick cow?" Probably none, but if you did you could at least hope to treat whatever it was with antibiotics. An environment saturated with constant, sub-clinical levels of antibiotics, though, is the perfect environment for producing bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, so any disease you got from eating THAT meat could well turn out to be untreatable.

      June 22, 2012 at 03:14 | Report abuse |
  10. michael

    Feed lots MUST GO! Our health, and childrens health depend on making our meats safe to eat. Its all about GREED! The heck with YOUR HEALTH!!

    June 20, 2012 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. felix el gato

    I think it all depends on the drugs.

    June 20, 2012 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. matt

    Antibiotic in animals is only required when farmers feed them things that are unnatural to their diets. Prime example uis feeding corn to cattle. It also changes the nutritional profile of the meat making it unhealthier, and the environment that this usually happens in, the feedlot, has cattle living on top of their own excrement, the primary cause of e. coli. It does make for cheaper meat. it also increases substantially the cases of heart disease and cancer out here. I'd like to see such practices banned in this counthry. The governent should at least stop subsidizing the pesticide heavy corn feed that is a huge part of the problem

    June 20, 2012 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. sick n tired

    I don't buy ground beef anymore because of the madcow scares, which our Government has failed to do anything about. I would be especially wary of ground beef from big suppliers like Wal Mart, who knows whats in that garbage.

    I don't buy eggs anymore either, instead I bought 4 chickens and have the best FRESH eggs I have ever had. Not only are they fresh but they are so fresh that I have to let them sit for a couple of weeks before I can have hardboiled eggs. If I don't wait at least 2 weeks they will not peel. I would like to breed the chickens for meat but my wife isn't going for it. I tried to explain to her that it would be better not only for us but for the chickens too. I'll keep trying.

    I also have a small garden where I grow as much organic produce as I can since the garbage in the stores is overly contaminated with pesticides. Our food system is in shambels much like the rest of our Goverment agencies.

    Don't look to our leaders to fix anything though, they have more important things to worry about like how they are going to keep milking the rest of us for as much as they can.

    People need to start doing as much for themselves as possible. If we all keep waiting or relying on the Government for our 'well being' we are doomed.

    June 20, 2012 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. amusemenow

    This is the second time you had this guest explaining about bacterial resistance. PLEASE how stupid do you think we are. Bacteria do not think and plan and "get smarter" Some bacteria die from a drug some do not and then they reproduce other bacteria that have a resistance to the drug. The idea that simple celled organisms "get smart" is a sad and condescending way of explaining this process.

    June 20, 2012 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. AllofThat

    Animals on drugs. Is this what America is coming to? People should stop dismissing techno as stupid, machine nonsense and take a look at it's real use – killing pathogens that make our animals sick. Those who disagree are purely ignorant. Remember, testosterone is as valid as estrogen, that's why we have both. I can not believe how much of this condescending, bigoted and ignorant bull i have heard over the years, being a farmer who happens to have serious respect for, and have met lots of people from, other disciplines. Most people who say things like this do not even visit farms to find out for themselves - so please do us all a favor: stop spraying your stupid opinions about subjects of which you know nothing.

    June 20, 2012 at 15:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Solo

    It's pretty funny that people are saying that they don't want the animals they consume on drugs, when this nation is at an all-time high of pharmaceutical reliance. (Oh, in layman's terms... this country is pill happy!)

    June 20, 2012 at 15:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Dave

    Once again, reading the majority of comments on here - the ones parroting that antibiotics are bad, 80% ..., blah, blah, blah - confirms that at least half of the population are idiots. Regardless, ALL antibiotics used in food-animal production: attack bacteria that can make animals sick; are approved by the FDA; have withdrawal periods so that residues in meat are infinitesimal to non-existent; and are administered under a veterinarian's supervision. The bottom line for consumers is: Would you rather eat meat from animals that were sick during their lifetime or ones that, because they were given antibiotics responsibly, were healthy? Finally, here are some facts: the percentage of all antibiotics used in food-animal production is not known because there is not good data on human uses; the WHO never said antibiotics use in food animals is leading to resistance, it only said antibiotics use in general is - it's a scientific fact that over time bacteria will evolve and become resistant to antibiotics - farms such as Joel Salatin's are not going to feed this nation let alone other countries; and (for organicalltheway) antibiotic-free or organic or free-range does NOT mean safe. But, hey, good luck with that.

    June 20, 2012 at 15:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Laura

      Did you even read the article? It isn't about treating sick animals with antibiotics. This is perfectly fine, as long as the animal isn't slaughtered right away. The problem is that large factory farms constantly give prophylactic antibiotics to their animals through their feed. Bacteria, with their huge population numbers and very fast generation times, can share antibiotic resistance genes across species. This can lead to antibiotic-resistant strains being transferred to us through undercooked meat.

      June 21, 2012 at 18:33 | Report abuse |
    • Alpop

      Sorry, all antibiotics are pbrcseired. You can try pure cranberry juice, but if you have an infection, you should see a doctor. There is also a product called Zo comes to urinary tract infections, but it will not cure it. This product facilitates just the symptoms.

      November 14, 2012 at 01:33 | Report abuse |
  18. Farm Girl

    Thank you Dave, Steve, Susan, Beef Queen, and others – the fact is, cattle get sick. And when our world's population is growing every day, we can't afford to let an animal die because farmers aren't allowed to give it medicine. The fact is – all meat is drug-free. Farmers and ranchers are REQUIRED to wait out withdrawal times after administering medicines before they can slaughter an animal. Sending an animal to slaughter that has drug remaints in its system has actual legal ramifications. Giving an animal medicine is no different than giving your child medicine. PLEASE talk to your local farmers. Visit their farms. See their animals. Do your own research before believing this piece of garbage "report". Shame on CNN for even publishing it.

    June 20, 2012 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • A scientist

      I can't tell if you are being dishonest or just ill-informed, but the vast majority of antibiotics given on farms are not given to sick animals - they are given prophylactically to healthy cattle to increase growth rates. One study by the Union of Concerned Scientists estimated that 70% of all antibiotics in the United States go to healthy livestock. There are many farmers who do use antibiotics appropriately, but others (particularly factory farms) give them to all animals, sick or not.

      In 2009, a bill was introduced to ban this practice (H.R. 1549/S 619). The WHO, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Animal Welfare Association, AMA, CDC, FDA, and FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine all supported the bill, but after intense lobbying from the US Cattleman's Association and other farm groups (who claimed that prophylactic antibiotic use was essential to allow US farms to compete with foreign markets), the bill was never even brought to a vote.

      So, if you really believe what you are saying, you should be actively lobbying for H.R.1549/S 619, as it will ensure that antibiotics are only given for legitimate medical reasons; this will prevent responsible farmers from being cast in a negative light by those using antibiotics irresponsibly.

      June 20, 2012 at 18:02 | Report abuse |
  19. skeptical

    If you've ever seen a real CAFO, you would know why so many antibiotics have to be used, and you would also be crazy to eat the stuff again. I favor less meat in our diet, and more of it from small family farms that only need to give medicine in isolated cases, because the cattle aren't packed in together standing on three feet of their own waste.

    June 20, 2012 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. JMan

    Poultry can be managed successfully exclusively Antibiotic Free. Growing one crop in a barn per year, cleaning and sanitizing each barn after each flock then leaving the barn vacant until the following season will break any possible disease cycle. This works, but produce a more costly product.

    June 20, 2012 at 20:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. bbz

    My brother died a horrific, prolonged death in January. His suffering was beyond imagining. He had a liver transplant at a hospital that has almost a 90% survival rate. The surgical wound never healed right. Two weeks later – the end of May 2011 he had his first post transplant surgery. Between that and Thanksgiving he had 14 additional major surgeries fighting C Difficile, MRSA, VRE, pseudomonas and other antibiotic resistant bacterial infections. Antibiotic resistant infections are epidemic in the world today. Yes, doctors over prescribe and that is one cause. Yes, patients do not always comply with instructions using antibiotics and that is another cause. The third cause is feeding low level antibiotics to factory farmed animals to keep them healthy enough to survive to slaughter and to make them gain weight faster. There are only a few companies left in the world doing research for new antibiotics. Antibiotics should ONLY be used for sick humans and animals.

    June 20, 2012 at 21:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. al

    antibiotics is one thing, anabolic steroids and growth hormone
    used also

    June 20, 2012 at 22:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Desdemone

    I'm not as worried about antibiotics than Artificial Growth Hormones that are fed to cattle. These hormones go to our bodies, our little children's bodies and voila, early puberty and cancer.

    June 20, 2012 at 23:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Kelcy

    After having followed this issue for decades now I think the most dangerous problem is the use of growth hormones in our feed stock. Many will respond that it just ain`t so.....that the hormones don`t matter since they are pig/cow/whatever. I would, however, like to point out that before the advent of artificial thyroid replacement that what was used was dessicated pig thyroid. The feed animal thyroid was recognized by the human body as bio-identical to our own hormone. (And I might add that a search of various websites will show you that many people believe that it was superior to the laboratory replicated hormone.....which is in face deleterious to our bodies.....causing all kinds of problems (like weight gain)).

    We have been poisoning ourselves for decades now.

    June 21, 2012 at 01:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Mc

    I love the feedback here– another thought, if cows and other animals actually had space to move and breathe, they probably would not be getting sick and having to use antibiotics as mentioned. These feedlot animals are so close to each other, eat a food they are not able to digest, and walk around in their own feces! How would they NOT get sick? Change the conditions and the food will improve. These factory farms are one of the biggest producers of methane gas, too. I've become vegan since learning about all this crazy food (meat) talk and dont intend in going back. While its not for everyone, it works for me. Also, I work where children do not have access to high quality food... You should see the size of these kids! Some 11 year olds are bigger than me! And girls start puberty so young now. I think some of it has to do with food additives such as antibiotics and hormones. Its scary when you see it first hand, especially with them being our future!

    June 21, 2012 at 05:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. not a peta member

    would 6 feet 200 lb 14 yr olds,and 12 year old females with 36d's have anything to do with the drugs that is being pumped into chicken and beef?

    June 21, 2012 at 06:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. not a peta member

    typo....[drugs that are being pumped]

    June 21, 2012 at 06:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. M S K

    Articles like these shows how removed the general population is from Agriculture. I'm involved with animal livestock my entire life and know that animal products produced in the U.S. are continually improving in safety. The monitoring of residues are policed by the USDA. Violators risk serious consequences for residues that are measured in ppm.
    It's interesting to note that the country of Denmark tried the antibiotic free approach to farming, only to find that after a period of years that they actually used more antibiotics overall, treating the occasional sick animals. I foresee a future of better husbandry practices that actually might see a reduction of antibiotic usage. Remember, this is a business and the use of such products is an expense that I'm sure the producer would love to minimize or eliminate.

    June 21, 2012 at 08:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. SilentBoy741

    28% of shoppers said they would like more meat-free drugs.

    June 21, 2012 at 12:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Bob

    This is so silly, there is no causal link between antibiotics and all the ailments that naturalist wackaloons ascribe to them. In fact, it is likely the combination of western medicine and our ability to produce enough food ("antibiotic meat and pesticide laden fruits/veggies") that have allowed us to live to the age that we do. PROVE IT PEOPLE, if you have the capacity to do so (which I doubt)! In other words, the real problem is that Americans are, in general, scientifically innumerate... Confusing associations with causality.

    June 21, 2012 at 13:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      There is no question at all that the sub-clinical doses of antibiotics administered daily throughout the lives of farm animals produces bacteria that are resistant to those antibiotics. None. This practice is strictly forbidden in most of the world, where livestock is raised just fine without it. It isn't worth the enormous risk involved.

      June 22, 2012 at 03:18 | Report abuse |
  31. kurt6string

    DId they actually do laboratory tests on the 'antibiotic-free meat'? Or did they just believe what the labels and brands told them? If they didn't then they probably should because I bet some of that antibiotic-free meat – isn't....

    June 21, 2012 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      So what? That's an issue unrelated to the article. And it's extremely unlikely that such a claim would be true, given the inspection process and intensive reporting on food production nowadays.

      June 22, 2012 at 03:20 | Report abuse |
  32. Solo

    I asked a colleague about this – he's actually a Veterinarian and he said very directly "there are drugs and other antibiotics used to promote general health" for these animals... remember that they are breeding them for a purpose and that for food consumption standards, there have to be assurances that they are not disease carriers. He also pointed out that there are standards like this for most anything the public ingests under "food product" guidelines and descriptions. If you do not want them in your food, make other choices. Period. (It's about as silly as parents who don't want to immunize children.)

    June 21, 2012 at 15:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. humtake

    First of all, they proved nothing in regards to prices. What they did is they took the price of meat from somewhere like a small town in Iowa and compared the price of healthy meat to the price of unhealthy meat in a big city in a big state.

    Secondly, there is no way to keep prices down without engaging in some sort of unnatural consumption. If government regulations say the animal itself can't be given antibiotics, then the food they feed them will have some form of unnatural additive. Some people like to try to say and give all kinds of evidence about how healthy meats and vegetables can be sold to the masses for cheap, but in reality not one bit of evidence has been shown that this is the case when you put it in terms of millions and billions, not just thousands.

    June 21, 2012 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      Nearly all other countries on the planet forbid sub-clinical, daily dosing with antibiotics as described in the article, and seem to have no problem at all producing meat.

      June 22, 2012 at 03:21 | Report abuse |
  34. John Dough

    I DEMAND MEAT-FREE DRUGS!

    June 21, 2012 at 23:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. FitnessJunky

    I found a great fitness blog. http://fitweblog.com/

    June 22, 2012 at 00:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Hamsta

    What the government refuses to admit is that steroids and growth hormones in the meat is the real cause of the obesity epidemic.

    June 22, 2012 at 01:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      Uh – that would be because such claims are BS. I know it's a lot more fun to pretend that increasing portion sizes and cheap availability of dense calorie foods, coupled with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, aren't the reason, but it really is just that simple.

      June 22, 2012 at 03:23 | Report abuse |
    • smako

      What about the toys? Toys being put in to meal boxes that cause excessive whining and begging to the point that parents that were raised by television themselves have no control over and just give in to.

      June 29, 2012 at 21:01 | Report abuse |
  37. ptsdLOADING

    Yet they love their food infused with wine and liquer...go figure?

    June 24, 2012 at 08:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. larry5

    There are a lot more chemicals in your meat besides antibiotics. The only way to effect a change is for the public to stop buying meat products that are infected with all these chemicals and drugs. The consumers hold the power if they will only work together. If the food producers are hit in their pocket books their responses will be better than if there are just some new laws and regulations put upon them. Good food is expensive in the short run and a screaming deal in the long run.

    June 27, 2012 at 08:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. claire

    Chicken has female hormonds; causing boys to have breasts. beef has antibiotics, and baby shots has caused autisem in our children, due to mercury that sticks to the fatty tissue in the brain. what next?

    June 29, 2012 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. smako

    What about all of the chemicals that farmers are using on their crops?

    June 29, 2012 at 20:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. smako

    Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, ammonium nitrate, not to mention genetically altered seeds treated with fertilizers and pesticides to protect them while in storage.

    June 29, 2012 at 20:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Angela

    the Economic Recession has been pretty hard on us. some of my freinds lost their job because of the massive job cuts. i just hope that our economy becomes better in the following years.

    November 16, 2012 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.