Antibiotics Safe for Livestock Use

Just like we’ve been sayin’ all along…
The Government Accountability Office released a report that stated there isn’t sufficient evidence  to warrant a study into a link between antibiotic use in food animals and antibiotic resistance in humans. Did you get that? Here, I’ll say it again.

GAO said “these data [collected by USDA] lack crucial details necessary to examine trends and understand the relationship between use and resistance.”

Haven’t pork producers been saying this for quite some time? In a release, NPPC has noted that pork producers have long been in compliance with responsible antibiotic use with veterinary supervision in order to keep their animals health and pork safe.

Need some more info? Read the whole piece here.

image from here

And if you’re new to the antibiotic use scene, here are some crucial facts to help you better understand antibiotic use.

  • Antibiotics are given strategically – administered when pigs are sick, susceptible or exposed to illness.
  • Using antibiotics strategically ensures that the safest meat in the world ends up on America’s dinner tables.
  • Only antibiotics approved by the FDA are used to treat pigs.
  • Human safety is a key component when considering animal antibiotic approval.
  • •    Withdrawal times, or the number of days an animal must be removed from antibiotics before entering the food supply, ensure that antibiotics are not present in the animal’s system at the time of slaughter.

    Do you have comments about this issue? Are you excited about this news (as I am) or does your opinion differ? Let’s converse! Leave me a comment below!

    Until next time,
    ~ Buzzard ~


    9 responses to “Antibiotics Safe for Livestock Use”

    1. Joanne Rigutto Avatar
      Joanne Rigutto

      Are you saying that antibiotics (of any kind) aren't fed to pigs as a regular part of the grower ration at any time in their lives?

      I'm asking about the large commercial growers.

    2. Joanne Rigutto Avatar
      Joanne Rigutto

      Also, what GAO said essentially was that there wasn't enough data, or the right kind of data collected to even study the issue. For people to say that there isn't a problem with antibiotic resistance in bacteria or other pathogens/parasites based on that data is like saying "Well, they didn't bother to collect data, so the problem must not exist". That's not a very sound platform to base a belief on. It does nothing to explain the presence of MRSA S398, which apparently developed in pigs and is now circulating in humans (this is a different strain that what is found in hospitals).

    3. Joanne,

      Thanks for your comments and interest in the information and my blog.
      First off, feed grade antibiotics are administered when pigs are most susceptible to disease or stressed. This most often occurs in the nursery phase of production due to the stresses encountered from weaning, commingling, a new feedstuff and other possible environmental stressors. After the nursery phase has finished, feed grade antibiotics are very rarely used during the finishing stage. They would only be used in the finishing stage if there was a significant possibility or potential that a health threat was eminent.
      In reference to the GAO announcement, we perceive it different ways. If there was a proven link between the two instances, pork producers would comply with regulations that would be put in place. There have been studies that say one thing and studies that say the other but nothing has been conclusive. If USDA really wants to pursue a large study to investigate a potential link, they need to put forth a substantial amount of work to collect a large amount of pertinent data that will allow them to find the link for which they are so desperately searching. Maybe the reason they don’t have enough data to substantiate a GAO study is that there isn’t enough data to support their claim?
      As far as MRSA ST398 goes, I did some research and found out that the current thinking is that a swine-adapted MSSA (Methicillin susceptible S. aureus) acquired a gene from a human CA-MRSA by direct gene transfer to the swine MSSA. Thus, the swine MSSA became a swine MRSA. However, further studies are needed to confirm this hypothesis (taken from a website; link below). Additionally, while MRSA ST398 is resistant to penicillin, it is sensitive to other antibiotics and can be successfully treated.
      I have provided a link if you would like to see where I got my info or do some more reading.

      Thanks again for commenting!

    4. Also, let it be known that I will be immediately disallowing Anonymous commenting. If one wants to offer an opinion that could influence another person's ideals or opinions about a very important industry, then that person should have enough courtesy to leave a follow up contact address should a reader want to further discuss a topic. Thanks to all who are reading and commenting!

    5. Thanks for the info Brandi. I was under the impression that antibiotics were a standard part of a regular grower ration. But I don't raise pigs. One of the few animals I haven't worked with, although I'll probably raise a few next year, I love pork but I can't stand the product that's available from my local store, bland, mushy, not worth the money.

      I agree with you on the anonymous posting. The least a person can do is post under their own name. I don't use a handle and I definately don't post anonymously. I always figured that if it's something I'm not comfortable or confident enough in to say under my own name then I probably shouldn't be saying it in the first place.

    6. Thanks for taking the time to reach out and learn more about pork production! Where, if I may ask, do you shop? A local butcher might be able to provide you with the quality of product you're looking for or you might want to change the cuts you're buying. What do you usually buy?

      I didn't mean to go on a rant about the anonymous posting but I echo your thoughts. That anonymous poster is saying things about pork production that aren't true and I'm now unable to contact them. Thanks!

    7. I used to buy my pork from Fred Meyer (now Kroger) and Safeway. I know Safeway's Rancher's Reserve brand is supplied by Cargill, although that's beef. I don't know who either chain buys their pork from.

      My local slaughterhouse buys pigs from local growers. I don't know how any of those growers are finishing their pigs, but the meat has more flavor and is redder than what I see at either of the big chains I used to buy from. When I buy pork, the cuts I buy are either roasts, chops or boneless ribs. I normally don't eat meat by itself. I use it as an ingredient in recipes. Poultry and fowl I'll eat by itself, and rabbit when I have it. I love rabbit and for me, they're the cheapest animals to raise for meat.

      But I love to use beef, pork and emu along with vegetables and tubers. The broth, sauces, and the vegies themselves just aren't the same without red meats. The meat adds a lot of richness to the flavors of everything, which is why I don't buy the pork from the store anymore. For the money, if it can't deliver the flavor, far as I'm concerned, it's just a waste of money. I can get animal protein from other things like poultry and fowl.

      The emu I use as a substitute for venison, I can't tell the difference between emu and really good venison. And then I render the oil from the birds too. If I can do it, I'll always have emus around. Means I don't have to go out and waste a month not getting a deer. 😉

      A fellow I know threw a luau a few weeks ago. He raises a few pigs for his own family's use. He finishes his pigs on apples, pears and other fruit. That was the best pork I've ever had. I figure next year I'll just get 2 or 3 weiners and grow them out myself. I have lots of options for slaughter, on farm, schedule the slaughter at the local inspected slaughterhouse (hopefully I'll be getting my meat seller's license from USDA this winter so I can sell cuts of pork, veal, lamb and goat that I raise). I already raise my own broilers, emu, lamb, goat, guinea fowl, ducks, turkeys and geese anyway. What's a few more head of stock. And frankly, seeing the prices on red meat a couple months ago I just about fainted anyway. Even if I fed certified organic feed (which I don't) I could raise the animals and pay someone else to kill, cut and wrap and still get the meat for way less than I could buy it at the store, even on sale (for red meat animals at any rate, the poultry, fowl and emus I kill, cut and wrap myself).

    8. Joanne – you sound extremely busy with all of those animals and slaughtering your own meat! I applaud your research into your food choices. I'd be interested to find out where your grocery store sources their meat from, just curious. I agree with you on the flavor – it's got to have a full bodied flavor for me to really enjoy it. My husband and I have often slaughtered a hog ourselves and then smoked the meat at our house or in a pit. It's hard to beat good home-smoked meat!

      Where are you at in the states? (You can email me that answer if you wish (

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