The next time you are in the grocery store buying meat for dinner, you may want to take a close look at the label. Even though all of the packages may appear to be the same, some may harbor hidden dangers. These meats can make you sick and have the potential to lead to death.
If you have watched the news lately, chances are you have heard about one of the super bugs, bacterial infections that are resistant to common antibiotics. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is one that frequently hits the news. Have you ever wondered why there are so many of these super bugs popping up everywhere?
The reason these bugs are resistant to antibiotics is they have been overexposed to them, which has allowed them to build up a tolerance to them. The over-prescribing of antibiotics for common illnesses is one culprit. The flu, for example, is a virus and therefore immune to antibiotics. However, many doctors persist in prescribing medicine for it.
A lesser known culprit is the antibiotics used in many of the meats found on supermarket shelves. This is a more serious one since most of us are not even aware that were are taking them in. When animals are farmed for the purpose of selling their meat, they may be given antibiotics to treat or prevent illness or even aid in growth.
Residue remains in the meat even after it is processed. In theory, the residue in meat is regulated by government guidelines which are designed to ensure it is not at an unsafe level. However, there are some companies that slip through the regulations.
Another concern with eating grocery store meat is that the meat itself can be unhealthy for you. This meat contains countless bacteria, some of which are harmless and some of which in fact are harmful or even deadly. These bacteria, too, can become resistant to antibiotics, and therefore have stayed in the meat even if the animal in question was given antibiotics specifically to kill those bacteria. When you eat that meat yourself, you ingest those bacteria and any residual antibiotics, too. This can make you ill.
Those with allergies to specific antibiotics should also pay close attention to food labels and choose antibiotic free meats. While government guidelines regulate the amount of residue left in meat, they don’t take into consideration those with allergies to these medications. Depending on the severity of your allergy, eating meat which contains this residue could very well set off an allergic reaction.
Antibiotic free meat is produced without the use of antibiotics. It is important to understand that while meat is regulated, the use of the antibiotic-free label is not. There is nothing to prevent a meat producer from falsely labeling their product as antibiotic free.
To ensure you are truly purchasing antibiotic free meat, consider buying organic products. In order to label an item as certified organic, companies must meet stringent guidelines. Failure to do so would result in their loss of ability to use the label. If your local stores do not carry certified organic products, it can be purchased through mail order or online merchants.
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