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No Need to Worry About Antibiotic Residues in Meat

No Need to Worry About Antibiotic Residues in Meat

Iowa State University's authority on antibiotics in food production says there's really not much difference between conventionally raised animals and antibiotic-free (ABF) production regarding residues in meat.

With all of the recent Panera and Chipotle hype about antibiotic-free production, Scott Hurd, DVM, decided to look at the data and also as a follow up to his previous blog about antibiotic free (ABF) meat, present some data to back up his claims that it’s all antibiotic free, baby!

“Due to farmers following appropriate withdrawal times, there are very few violations. In fact in the last three years of USDA testing, no broiler chickens have been found with violative residues for the scheduled (random) sampling. For beef, only two out of 1,600 violations were found and only three out of 2,200 came from market hogs,” he explains. He notes that antibiotics are not toxins, they are useful and very safe products used by everyone.

The bottom line is that the residue detection levels in the three classifications that Hurd analyzed (beef cattle, market hogs, and broilers) reveal residue levels that are extremely small and well below the levels that would cause adverse effects to a human eating the meat. In addition, if an animal tests positive for residues, it does not enter the food supply.

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“Meat from an ABF farm would supposedly have zero levels of residues – but, if you aren’t going to get sick or be affected by the perfectly healthy, wholesome conventional meat, why should you pay more for something that potentially carries more foodborne illness?” Hurd questions.

To read more of his blog on this subject, click on

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