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Meat and antibiotics What we're eating?


Most restaurant chains US does not have a policy to limit the routine use of antibiotics in meat supply chains and chicken or, at least, to inform customers.

“Laws are like sausages, you better do not see how ", said Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck. Many studies and reports on restaurants, food or food industry come to confirm reflection Chancellor.

In mid-September, CNN He reported that a study warned of the use of antibiotics in meat supplies. 25 of the biggest fast food chains in the United States appear in this analysis and many of them do not work out stops.

As it is clear from this study, Most restaurant chains US does not have a policy to present to the public the regular use of antibiotics in the supply of meat and chicken restaurant, according to the report ‘Chain Reaction’ made by Friends of the earth, by the Defense Council Natural Resources and four other organizations of consumer interest, public health and environmental.

Informe Chain Reaction (Chain reaction)

Informe Chain Reaction (Chain reaction)

“When livestock producers antibiotics administered routinely to their flocks and herds, the bacteria may develop resistance, thrive and even spread to our communities, contributing to the problem of antibiotic resistance”, the authors write in the report. “The epidemic is worsening resistance, antibiotics might not take effect when we need them most”, experts add.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention US and World Health Organization (WHO) They have repeatedly warned about the threat to public health that causes antibiotic resistance. The CDC consider that every year at least two million Americans contract infections resistant to antibiotics and, Consequently, die 23.000 people. Meanwhile, WHO warned in a report 2014 what “one posantibióticos was -in which common infections and minor injuries may cause death- far from being an apocalyptic fantasy is, instead, a very real possibility for the XXI century”.

Because in developed countries people are eating more meat than ever, researchers found behind the report wanted a closer study “leaders and laggards in the industry”. For the study a scoring system was created to evaluate commitments chains US restaurants for their use of antibiotics and on transparency in their supply chains.

The trivialization of antibiotics in animal husbandry

illustration meat

CSA File

In countries that have a law on veterinary antibiotics, requires a treated cow antibiotics should be clearly identified, under penalty of a heavy fine. For example, the dairy farmer must continue milking the animal but milk should be discarded until no traces of drugs. If antibiotics are present in milk, transformers can not use this for making yogurt or cheese.

Scientists WHO already they warned in a report of 2000 on antimicrobial resistance, in this study they stressed the need to reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock, but no one seems to make much attention. Some drugs used to treat diseases in humans are widely used in healthy animals as mere prevention. Currently more antibiotics are used in veterinary medicine. On average, to produce one kilogram of meat used in Europe 100 milligrams of antimicrobial.

Abusive drug spending is done without and without finding a proven their effectiveness. The only thing proven is that because of this abuse has skyrocketed immune resistance to diseases of animals also suffer human. According to experts WHO, may strains of bacteria with resistance genes can be transferred from animals to humans through food. The risk is evident. If you get sick with these resistant strains, traditional antibiotics will not help us at all.

Visual Mozart

Visual Mozart

Under this topic, in June 2012, The Washington Post reported the legal battle waged by groups of health and consumer protection who sued the US government for allowing the use of large amounts of antibiotics and other drugs in livestock production. A federal court has ordered a review of the decision to authorize the use of certain antibiotics in animal feed. In the ruling the judge recognizes that, despite more than three decades it is known that their use poses health risks to humans, It has been done “surprisingly little” to avoid.

In Spain, committed to reducing pharmaceutical expenditure, even an abusive drug spending unnecessarily and without a medical finding proven its effectiveness and safety is maintained in livestock.

What rating earned every restaurant?

Policies and practices supply antibiotics

Policies and practices supply antibiotics

Supply policies and practices in key supply chain restaurants

Supply policies and practices in key supply chain restaurants

Each restaurant was rated according to their policies antibiotic use, including the rigidity of the policy and whether it applied to all types of meat. the implementation of these policies was revised, routine estimated availability of meat produced without antibiotics, transparency of these policies, if the meat had been subjected to an audit by Health and took into account in assessing the restaurant if the policy was available online or if the restaurant had responded to the survey. The study authors contacted personally restaurants, by email or by mail. The total number of possible points is based on the restaurant menu offers.

Restaurant chains best stops out of the study are Chipotle, Mexican food chain, Y Panera Bread, Fast-bar chain pastry, both were rated A. Were the only ones who reported using mostly meat from animals raised without regular use of antibiotics, according to the report.

“Although many people you are starting to pay attention to this problem, a long time we've known that's what needs to be done and not pleased that some even take small steps to reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock”, Chipotle said in the report.

Even so, This fast food chain 'premium’ already it had to face his first health crisis. Almost 50 Chipotle Restaurants, located on the west coast, They have had to close for a possible contamination of their food by bacteria E.Coli. At the moment, at least 22 people between 11 Y 64 years have been affected and a third of them had to be hospitalized in Washington and Oregon.

Returning to study, Panera Bread meanwhile responded: “more than a decade, We start serving chicken raised without antibiotics, before the industry. We are pleased to see that others have followed suit and we are proud to have extended our commitment to the whole chicken, Ham, bacon, chorizo ​​and roasted turkey served in our salads and sandwiches”.

Chick-fil-A received a grade B and responded by saying it was “the first company in the industry quick service restaurant to announce its commitment to 'no use antibiotics never’ in its supply of chicken in the 2014. Because of this strict requirement and our desire that a third party will verify the processes of our suppliers, the change will take some time”.

McDonalds-Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts Y McDonald’s They were rated C.

Logos chains hosteleria

Subway, Wendy’s, Burger King, Denny’s, Domino’s Y Starbucks F received a rating but have, at least, a point.

CNN contacted 11 of restaurant chains identified by this study and several responded and did as follows (extract CNN news):

  • “Dunkin’ Donuts has strict food quality standards for all our products meet the requirements of the Food and Drug (FDA, for its acronym in English) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA, for its acronym in English), thus complying with all laws, ordinances and regulations”, said chain donuts.
  • Wendy's said it is testing grilled chicken that has been raised without antibiotics.
  • Burger King Corp. He said it would review the findings.
  • Domino's said its suppliers “currently they meet all requirements USDA and not buy meat chicken or beef treated with the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics”.
  • Starbucks said it was working with its suppliers to address concerns about the use of antibiotics.

Other restaurants also were rated F but, Besides, They did not obtain any point of the 36 potential. These restaurants are Olive Garden, Papa John’s, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, Applebee’s, Sonic, Chili's, Jack in the Box, Arby’s, Dairy Queen, TOGETHER, Outback Y Little Caesars.

One of these chains that did not get any points, Papa John’s, He said it is spending 100 million a year to remove artificial ingredients and other additives, so, “for the first half of 2016 we will be offering chicken without antibiotics in our pizza”. The authors report that added “Chick-fil-A and McDonald's have policies that limit the use of antibiotics in their chicken and include deadlines for implementation, while Dunkin’ Donuts has a policy for all meats but has not specified any deadline for implementation”.

Most major US restaurants have failed, until now, to respond effectively to this growing threat to public health. Terry Fleck, Executive Director Center for Food Integrity (Center for Food Integrity), whose members include the National Restaurant Association, He said the responsible use of antibiotics makes food safer and more affordable. “Antibiotic resistance is a serious public health problem that must be addressed both in human medicine and in animal”, Fleck said in a statement e-mailed to CNN. “But as happens with you or me, when animals are sick with a bacterial infection, Antibiotic treatment is the ethical. Farmers work closely with veterinarians to administer antibiotics responsibly in caring for their animals for the benefit of each of us to make food safer and more affordable”.

red and processed meat

Inevitably this makes us look back just a few days, When the media echoed the publication of a WHO report on the consumption of red meat and processed was associated with some cancers. An international advisory committee which met in 2014 He recommended that red meat and processed meat were considered high priority for evaluation by the Monographs Program of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (CIIC). This recommendation was based on epidemiological studies suggesting that small increases in the risk of various cancers could be associated with high consumption of red meat or processed meat. “Although these risks are small, public health could be important because many people in the world eat meat and meat consumption is increasing in low- and middle-income”, Quote this report.

Red meat has been classified as Grupo2A, probably carcinogenic to humans. For red meat, the classification is based on limited evidence from epidemiological studies showing a positive association between red meat consumption and the development of colorectal cancer, and a strong mechanistic evidence. “The elimited clairvoyance It means that a positive association has been observed between exposure to the agent and cancer, but you can not rule out other explanations for observations (technically called bias or confounding)”, clarifies WHO.

Processed meat was classified as Group 1, carcinogenic to humans. “This category is used when there sufficient evidence carcinogenicity in humans. In other words, There is convincing evidence that the agent causes cancer. The assessment is usually based on epidemiological studies showing the development of cancer in humans exposed. In the case of processed meat, This classification is based on sufficient evidence from epidemiological studies showing that eating processed meat causes colorectal cancer”, the report continues: (http://www.who.int/features/qa/cancer-red-meat/es/).

What if we replace meat by insects?

An agency of the United Nations, less worried that people eat healthier than the simple fact that eating something, the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) already he proposed some time ago an alternative to meat. This alternative has some beneficial qualities is hearty and healthy, another of his qualities is that they are insects. The FAO explain what “insects provide protein and nutrients of high quality compared to meat and fish. Insects are especially important as a food supplement for malnourished children because most of the insect species contain elevated levels of fatty acids (comparable with fish). They are also rich in fiber and micronutrients such as copper, iron, magnesium, match, manganese, Selenium and five”. Add, in addition to “insects pose a reduced risk of transmission of zoonotic diseases (diseases transmitted from animals to humans) as the H1N1 (bird flu) and the EEB (mad cow disease)”.

A plague of locusts can feed a village. Roe ants are transformed into luxurious Mexican or escamol caviar and in South Africa bread it is made with moth larvae and worms beetle and grasshoppers are already a good source of protein in many places. A barnacle yes but not a grasshopper?

Javier Sampedro gives us some advice in his opinion piece in The Country: “So now you know: before criticizing the agency HIM, listen to what the other says. Eat less sausages and beetles: if they fail to live, at least they will honor memory Chancellor Bismarck”.

About the Author

Journalist Master in Digital Communication. Curiosa since birth. Always with a notebook and a book in the backpack. Fascinated investigate novel and interesting topics related to Social Media restauranting. Burgos, specifically, Salas de los Infantes.


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