Posts Tagged ‘antibiotics’

Pork Under Fire

October 18, 2010

Pork prices may start seeing a steady rise as new rules begin to go into effect that require less use of antibiotics on healthy animals. The practice, which has been routine for a very long time has been effective at keeping food prices down because animals stayed healthy and didn’t have to be destroyed before they could be slaughtered for food.

Superbugs Evolve

The problem however is that bacteria are pretty smart for bugs. They don’t just roll over and die. Instead, they mutate and become new strains of bugs which leads to the creation of what are known as “superbugs.”

Superbugs are bacteria that cannot be killed by any known method or which only respond to the harshest of medicines, medicines which may have nasty side effects when humans have to take them to ward off powerful infections.

New Guidelines Set to Be Published

The Food and Drug Administration has declared that they are considering changing their guidelines.  They will recommend dropping the widespread use of the medications in healthy animal populations, given the chance that the practice could lead to a human health crisis.

While the guidelines from the guidelines are voluntary, however, some pork producers are expecting that they may affect the price of meat and especially of pork, which can be prone to infection after the piglets are weaned from their mothers.

Stricter Regulation Demanded

However, many influential groups, including the American Medical Association and the Infectious Diseases Society of America are saying that the new guidelines are not good enough and are calling on Congress to pass a law forbidding the widespread use of the antibiotics in meat production.

Should such a bill pass, it could have an adverse affect on restaurateurs whose repertoire relies heavily on such products. Animal sickness could easily cause a shortage of some kinds of meat and cause prices to rise, farmers warn.

Specific Form of Antibiotics Targeted

Currently, the controversy revolves around a specific form of antibiotics which have been shown to help piglets grow faster, thus providing more and cheaper meat for American restaurants and homes. However, other forms of antibiotics may be targeted in the future, causing potential price spikes for those who serve pork related products in their establishments.