For entries of the Meltdown series before December 2010, visit www.keithhunt.com/meltdown.html.
Thursday, July 3, 2014
REGULAR USA MEAT.... SERIOUSLY polluted... Dr. Mercola
US Uses Many Other Growth-Promoting Drugs Banned in Other Countries
Antibiotics are not primarily used to combat disease in animals. They're actually used in low doses to promote growth. But they're certainly not the only growth promoters used in American livestock. Other examples include Ractopamine and Zilmax, both of which are shunned by many other nations for their potential harms, both to animals and humans.
Ractopamine is a beta-agonist drug that increases protein synthesis, thereby making the animal more muscular. This reduces the fat content of the meat and increases the profit per animal. Beta-agonist drugs, as a class, have been used in US cattle production since 2003. The drug is administered in the days leading up to slaughter, and as much as 20 percent of it can remain in the meat you buy. This is disconcerting when you consider that Ractopamine drug label warns: "Not for use in humans," and "individuals with cardiovascular disease should exercise special caution to avoid exposure."
Ractopamine is banned from food production in at least 160 countries, including countries across Europe, Russia, mainland China, and Taiwan, due to its suspected health effects. In an effort to get this dangerous additive out of American meat products, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) sued the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year, charging the agency with withholding records pertaining to ractopamine's safety.12
Zilmax (Zilpaterol) is another beta-agonist drug used in cattle to increase weight by as much as 30 pounds of lean meat per cow. The drug got a slew of bad press last year when Tyson Foods Inc declared it would no longer buy Zilmax-fed cattle for slaughter, due to concerns over behavioral problems in some of the cattle.13 A special report by Reuters14revealed some of the more horrific effects Zilmax has on cattle, including the loss of their hooves.
The drug is already banned for use in horses due to severe side effects, including muscle tremors and rapid heart rates that can last as long as two weeks after stopping the drug.15 Zilmax is actually about 125 times more potent than ractopamine, and according to a 2008 veterinary report,16 this may be why side effects have been overlooked in ractopamine safety studies. Merck, the manufacturer of Zilmax, has no plans on discontinuing the product however,17 and the FDA has not taken any action against the drug.
Rethink Your Shopping Habits to Protect Your Family's Health
I believe the movement toward sustainable food and ethical meat is important for several reasons, including animal welfare, human health, and environmental impact. In fact, I'm so convinced of the cumulative harms of consuming meat from animals raised in CAFOs that the ONLY type of meat I recommend eating (and the only meat I will eat myself) is organically-raised,grass-fed or pastured meats and animal byproducts. This applies to all types of meat: beef, pork, and poultry, including turkey.18
By purchasing your meat from smaller farms that raise their animals in a humane fashion, according to organic principles—which do NOT permit non-medical use of drugs and growth promoters—you're promoting the proliferation of such farms, which in the end will benefit everyone, including all the animals. It will also help combat the rising tide of antibiotic-resistant infections, which currently affects a staggering two million Americans each year.
As noted earlier, about 23,000 of affected individuals end up dying from their infection... The organic industry also tends to favor far more humane butchering practices, which is an important part of "ethical meat." The following organizations can help you locate farm-fresh foods in your local area that has been raised in a humane, sustainable manner:
Local Harvest -- This Web site will help you find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies.
Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food from Healthy Animals -- The Eat Well Guide is a free online directory of sustainably raised meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs from farms, stores, restaurants, inns, and hotels, and online outlets in the United States and Canada.
FoodRoutes -- The FoodRoutes "Find Good Food" map can help you connect with local farmers to find the freshest, tastiest food possible. On their interactive map, you can find a listing for local farmers, CSAs, and markets near you.
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