Thursday, January 22, 2009

They're Pumping My Veggies Full of Antibiotics!

photo: Foodnet

Reason #3 on my list of “Reasons To Become A Vegetarian” was because I didn’t want to eat anything that had been pumped full of growth hormones and/or antibiotics and/or steroids. Many meat eaters I know are cutting back on their meat consumption for this reason also. Now I find we may still be consuming a side dish of antibiotics with each meal.

Environmental Science News reports about two studies done at the University of Minnesota show that crops grown on sites previously used for livestock can absorb the antibiotics leftover in the soil.

Our society is so addicted to antibiotics, it has reached epidemic proportions. Thinking about sneezing – grab an antibiotic. They are handed out in all manner of disguises defending your family from all manner of pernicious diseases percolating in hidden crevices in your home bidding their time until your immune system is in their control. Spooooky!

Check the packaging on all your sprays, wipes, cleaners, foams, scrubbing bubbles, clinging spray, clinging foam, etc. and be prepared to see any mix of following terms: disinfectant, antifungal, antibiotic, germicide, antibacterial.

"Around 90 percent of these drugs that are administered to animals end up being excreted either as urine or manure,” said Holly Dolliver, a member of the Minnesota research team and now a professor of crop and soil sciences at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. “A vast majority of that manure is then used as an important input for 9.2 million hectares of (U.S.) agricultural land.”

2005 was the first study and chlortetracycline was found in the manure-treated soil where researchers planted corn, lettuce, and potatoes. Later on in another study in 2007, sulfamethazine was found in manure-treated soil. Both chlortetracycline and sulfamethazine are antibiotics widely used in the livestock/agriculture industry.

The study said that while foods that are often highly processed like corn seem to lose a lot of the chemicals they absorb but; veggies like spinach, lettuce, and other produce that are just washed before use, do not.

Once again Europe is ahead of us here in America (both North and South). They banned the use of antibiotics in the raising of food animals in 2006. In the US (and I’m sure Canada is roughly the same) nearly 70 percent of antibiotics produced annually are given in some form to livestock. The part that galls me and should gall the entire meat-eating community is that most of these animals given antibiotics are not sick.

Vegetarians and green eaters are now finding that they are unwittingly getting a side dish of antibiotics with each meal. Let’s ratchet this up a notch and go organic! It’s a little more expensive; but, it’s worth it – right?

Here’s something I didn’t know and I bet you didn’t either. There are no standard practices in place that force organic farmers to check the manure they use for antibiotic content. Therefore, even organic crops could contain a healthy dose of antibiotics for dessert.

Scientists agree that the misuse of antibiotics (source: is contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistant human diseases. Patients suffer through longer illnesses thereby incurring higher medical costs; and, doctors are left with a dwindling arsenal of drugs to fight disease.


kathi said...

P - I'm sure you heard that some of the principles involved in the melanin (sp?) problem from China were sentenced to death yesterday. Some of the parents of the babies who died were reported as saying the punishment was too light.

Pippa said...

My next blog. Watch for it!