Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

Antibiotic-Free Meat Map Launched for Consumers

Coinciding with the new “Meat Without Drugs” campaign announced this week, tech start up Real Time Farms launched a crowd-sourced map to help consumers locate meat from animals raised without antibiotics.

realtimefarm_iphone.jpgThe FixAntibiotics Food Finder allows shoppers to look up retail locations, farmers markets, farms, and restaurants sourcing antibiotic-free meat using their zipcode or by zooming into a geographic area.

Real Time Farms also asks users to add to the database if they know of another location that is not listed on the map.

“This campaign, as with so many things, comes down to people voting with their wallets because government is seen as moving too slowly,” said Real Time Farms, in a blog post on Thursday.

As Food Safety News Reported this week, public health advocates have been frustrated by what they believe is too slow a response to an urgent public health threat. Around 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the United States each year are given to food animals to boost growth as well as treat and prevent disease and scientists have long known that all antibiotic use, whether in medicine or agriculture, fuels antibiotic resistance, which can make diseases harder to treat.

In April, FDA finalized a guidance on the judicious use of antibiotics in food animals and released a new plan to help curb the drugs used for growth promotion. The agency is asking veterinary drug companies to voluntarily change their drug labels on medically-important antibiotics so that farmers will only be allowed to use the drugs to prevent, control, or treat diseases under the supervision of a veterinarian — and to boost growth or improve feed efficiency.

© Food Safety News
  • Ted

    Now this is more like it! Label it “no antibiotics” so people can find it if that’s what they want to pay extra for. Then map the purveyors. This will streamline whistleblower actions to expose animal cruelty when people let sick animals suffer without effective medical treatment. It will also lead investigators to fraud in advertising when some of this “antibiotic-free” stuff is sampled, tested and found with traces of drugs. It will also aid the state and federal tax auditors in uncovering and prosecuting cases of tax evasive barter and cash transactions. This sort of mapping is truly a commendable effort, an example of a gift that will keep on giving!

  • Judith

    Goes to show that good, healthy meat can be produced WITHOUT antibiotics — as they are prohibited in Certified Organic.
    But the Factory Farm confined animal concentration camps (CAFOs) use daily doses of antibiotics and other drugs in the animal and chicken feed to keep them alive in the deplorable conditions and “economically” gaining weight.
    And meanwhile virulent bacteria are building multi-drug resistance with immediate effects on Public Health.
    So the question is — if high quality meat can be produced without antibiotics then why is this regular drug use in our food supply sanctioned by FDA and USDA?? (Answer: Big Industry Bucks)

  • Amorette

    Ironically, where I live, we have a Humane Society certified feedlot that uses no antibiotics. The meat is sold on the opposite side of the state –and in Montana, that is a LONG way away — because those folks will pay a premium.

  • FarmerJane

    Judith, Certified Organic allows treatment of sick animals with antibiotics. What they do instead, is dump the animal into the marketplace after it has been treated. This usually means slaughtered. Laughably, we have plenty of certified organic livestock farmers who treat the animal, don’t record that treatment and continue on reaping the premiums. I’d like to see some testing of the meat from some of the so-called organic farms. I’d also like to see what you would do if confronted with a calf with pneumonia gasping for air to survive. Let us know.

  • Jim

    You should check your farm facts “Farmer Jane” — antibiotics are not allowed in organic production but organic farmers are also prohibited from withholding antibiotic treatment of sick animals when needed. That calf you refer to gets treated, pure and simple.
    But, since treated animals can no longer be used in organic production — they can always be sold into conventional live markets (not slaughter) — where livestock is regularly treated with antibiotics all the time (along with a long list of other drugs and hormones that are also prohibited in organic production).
    Antibiotic use has become a real crutch on conventional farms — starting with young calves and actually weakening the animal’s immune systems over time.
    Organic farmer experience shows that once an organic herd is well-established, with healthy, organically-raised calves coming in as replacements, that the incidence of diseases falls way off. There are also many effective herbal and other non-antibiotic treatments that stimulate their immune systems. Many heritage breeds are also known for having greater immunity and overall healthiness.
    And organic markets require all kinds of testing — every shipment of milk is tested every time; grain is tested for GMOs and meat packer/processors also test meat….

  • FarmerJane

    You should check your facts. I’ve seen plenty of antibiotic usage on so-called organic farms. And, plenty of the organic farmers simply put the animal into the sale ring. I overhead the hired workers at a local organic farm laughing how they were “blowing through cows” I do agree about the beauty of heritage cows. They are fantastic cows, very hearty and capable of thriving without high input.
    Every load of milk is tested every time on conventional farms as well. The farmer pays a huge penalty if found to be positive. I deeply resent the organic farmers telling the public that the average farmer plugs their cows full of antibiotics and hormones because this is simply not the case.

  • Keene Observer

    Do these organic farmers really live in a flawless fairy tale world simply by shunning technology, hoarding dung and letting weeds run wild? Now you want us to believe animals on organic farms never get sick? There is no end to the wishful thinking of organic dreamers! Farmer Jane is right. She seems to have some real farm experience, unlike Jim who is a fool to think being “prohibited” on a slip of paper always assures the absolute honesty of some organic farmer who’s faced with losing a bunch of livestock and money. After all, it was the extra money that enticed most of these organic farmers into the racket in the first place. Jim should be using the pen name Polly Anna.

  • FarmerJane

    Yes, that’s right, Jim. I have overhead organic dairy farmers laugh how they treated cows, then blew them into the slaughter ring. The other farmers don’t want to buy cows from organic farmers who are dumped into the auction ring as these are the problem cows. I was totally turned off on organic dairy when I watched a local organic farmer throw a baby pig over the fence to die. The little guy had been trampled by his mother and seriously cut open. The so-called “organic” farmer felt it would not be “worth” his dime to treat and save the pig. Neighbors saved him and took him to the vet. On another organic farm, the hired Mexicans do all the work, antibiotics are routinely used (just not written down)…all the while collecting a premium. Maybe you are an ethical “organic” dairy farmer, but I know plenty who will lie, cheat and do anything for that premium. I’m not into lying to consumers. I’m not also into badmouthing the conventional dairy farmer to the public as you are. Rural America is losing good dairy farmers at a rapid pace, plenty of good people who do not abuse antibiotics or give the cows rbgh. If the organic dairy people can succeed in putting the rest of the farmers under with lies, let me know what you have achieved. Last farmer standing theme? Just like the CAFO’s, eh?

  • M.P.
  • Bill

    Hey Folks
    There’s a whole lot of Organic dairy Farms doing very well with healthy herds that are kept healthy without needing antibiotics — imagine that…. AND ever shipment of milk is tested to be antibiotic free to prove it — imagine that….

  • Eric Farmer

    Farmer Jane — unless you’re blowing smoke (happens alot in these pages) why don’t you report said farmer to their certifier? — Clearly what you speak of are violations and should be dealt with by the National Organic Program… and shame on them. But to quote some supposed anecdotal “evidence” as an indictment of ALL organic farmers is just organic bashing. In this case — shame on you…

  • FarmerJane

    Eric Farmer, The anecdotal things that I saw got me interested in taking a closer look at purported organic milk. Yes, I am sorry to use anecdotal evidence, but I found this piglet incident to be outrageous. (the neighbors who took him in ultimately placed him in a pig santuary thankfully).
    I live in a region where hundreds of average sized family farms graze their cows, use antibiotics only when needed and never used rbgh. Farmers in my area objected in the media to rbgh when it first came out years ago. The farmers turned away from it quietly when Monsanto called us at our homes to threatened us with litigation if we continued to write in the media about it.
    In the past several years, some of the most unethical farmers in my area became “organic”. This led me to question the system. (Yes, it is true that there are some lovely people, I personally know one fantastic farmer who would never ever lie who is truly organic). As to reporting them, I’ve heard and read correspondence from some of the ethical organic farmers complaining about problems within the certifying agency itself. And, some of the good organic farmers are complaining about corporate organic hauling in organic milk from CAFO’s while showing consumers pictures of happy cows grazing (Read Cornucopia Institute ratings of organic milk).
    Going beyond what I have observed personally, I’m watching the media as corporate organic dairy attempts to capture market share by misleading consumers here in the northeast by saying that the conventional farm milk is “loaded with antibiotics and hormones”. (take a look at the websites of big organic). Stats on testing of milk tanker loads are readily available. Some 3,000,000 plus tankers of milk are tested annually. The last figure I saw was that only 861 tested “positive” and were then dumped out. This is not exactly in line with what corporate organic tells the public.
    Take a look at stats on growth hormones. If you google “Rick North” and “bovine growth hormones”, you should get to his work on fighting the use of rbgh. This is used primarily on the large farms and primarily in the west. I do not know of a single farm that uses it in my network of scores of family owned farms. This is also not in line with what corporate organic tells the public, is it? What is to be gained by trying to destroy the family farmers who are not certified organic?

  • Ted

    Organic bashing? That’s rich, coming from the original proponents of “fear sells”; organic farmers so devoid of measurable features & benefits in their products, producers so profoundly unexceptional they must differentiate themselves by trash-talking perfectly safe, abundant affordable foods produced by efficient modern food producers. The original bashers feeling bashed! The zen masters of anecdotal evidence now question its value? The cruelest prevaricators of the lot now whine for fairness! Ha! As ye sow, so ye shall reap….or perhaps you prefer to think of it as karma? Turns out these organic farms are no better than the CAFOs they are always bashing, worse probably, truth told. Damned self-policing scoundrels. The organic emperor has no clothes — never did have. Sure, shame on Farmer Jane for pointing that out. Ha!! You mealy mouthed organic backbiters crack us up!
    http://www.skepdic.com/organic.html
    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/science-sushi/2011/07/18/mythbusting-101-organic-farming-conventional-agriculture/
    http://www.consumerfreedom.com/2010/10/4282-the-fear-mongering-industry-fights-the-facts/
    Yeah, fear sells….until we all stop buying it — then that will be the end of the organic money grab!

  • FarmerJane

    Jim, every single load of every single conventional dairy farm is tested for antibiotics too, each and every time. The milk trailers are tested when they arrive at the milk plant as well, every single time. Dairy lab scientists measure every aspect of the milk before putting it into process. Antibiotics would ruin cheese and yogurt cultures. Processors could not afford to dump cheese vats full of cheese that is not setting or yogurt that is not culturing. If organic dairy farmers are telling you that only their milk is tested, this is a downright lie.
    We also don’t hear much about the strides made in dairy science over the past decade. Thanks to development of the Delvo test in Holland, there is a cheap and easy test to check for antibiotics residues on the farm. Virtually every “egads-hated-conventional” dairy farmer I know has one to make sure milk has no antibiotics residuces in it. Dairy scientists are the unsung heros who have received no credit and the general public knows nothing about. I am sure that we will see development of more and better means of testing milk in the future.
    We have also seen growing use of internet to get info to working farmers on antibiotics worldwide. Here in the US, webinars on antibitiocs usage, withholding, handling and means to ensure better milk safety were booked solid. Overseas, I’ve been watching the growth in similar use of internet, India-the world’s largest dairy producer is a prime example with their series of YouTube instructional dairy science videos.
    It is truly unfortunate that the “organic” dairy corporations take extra special super care to never ever have a word of advocacy for regular dairy farmers. The dairy farm communities were built on the backs of all of us farmers. Now, anything for a buck. One dairy newspaper talks about the staff at Organic Valley getting 50% of the “take” (profit) as their bonus. I wonder if this is true. If so, it would explain their aggressiveness in urban settings in telling the public that any milk that does not come from organic certified farms is inferior.

  • Jim

    Farmer Jane — My intent was not to impugn conventional dairy — of course, for the reasons you mention, ALL milk is tested for antibiotics and I cited this fact to demonstrate that indeed organic famers are complying with the prohibition toward using antibiotics….
    I think it’s also factual to refer to the regular therapeutic and non-therapeutic doses conventional animals receive in their feed rations. It is this regular use that is responsible for building resistance and threatening the viability of antibiotics for humans.

  • Barbara

    Why is it organic fanatics can’t stop running down normal food, accusing us of poisoning our families with every good meal we prepare? Do they really think we are that stupid? Have they no idea how insulting it is to our intelligence? Do organic farmers somehow think they are not part (albeit a very strange small fringe part) of farming and food production themselves? What is the point of smearing all farmers, themselves included, with all the trumped up lies and scare talk against good farms that have fed our families for generations? Is there no end to their idiotic accusations of toxicity and pollution attributed exclusively to modern farming? What magic makes organic farmers so pure? They can’t possibly think we believe them when they tell us nonsense like that.
    Many of us are so sick of being inundated with brainless organic bullshit we refuse to buy an organic product under any circumstance. Far from trusting them to do what is right, we have learned we can count on organic operators to lie to us with their hateful terror scams, overcharge us for common food and generally cheat us blind if they think they can get away with it. The organic label means USDA certified ripoff. To hell with blind trust in smarmy organic shysters.

  • FarmerJane

    Thanks, Jim. I totally agree on non-therapeutic use of antibiotics. I am not into it and would caution against it. I am very jumpy about organic companies bashing the rest of the farmers. Go look at Corporate Stonyfield’s website where they imply to consumers that regular milk is near poison. Go to Organic Valley website, they do the same. I have sat in talks given by organic Valley and listened to their reps tell people one on one how superior organic milk is. Hardly advocacy for the regular dairy farmers.
    This is especially obnoxious because it drives the price of milk down to dairy farmers in the northeast. (a region rich in grazing herds). Milk prices are based on Class I (Fluid), ClassII (soft, yogurts) and Class III (cheeses) that are blended together. When fluid milk sales decline in proportion to the total sales, the blend price is drastically reduced. NY’s fluid milk sales are declining (due to many reasons). I have asked consumers who tell me that they know that conventional milk is poisonous. Hitting Northeast farmers in the Class I milk pricing gut with lies is totally unethical and is serving to drive some darn good people from the land. Of course, the tears the conventional farmers shed are of no meaning to the corporate organic people. They disgust me.

  • Farmerella

    Barbara, I am weary of being labeled as an idiotic, polluting, hormone wielding, antibiotic-feeding dairy farmer because we choose not to be certified organic. First of all, I don’t want to be associated with the lies that some of the unethical ones put out.
    The fact is that I do not want to sell off a beautiful cow if she has been treated once. We have a herd of long-lived cows who are not going anywhere. I will care for them, treat them if sick, dump the milk until a lab tests it as clean.
    My farm is several hundred acres of wide open space. We did a baseline study on the wildlife on our farm in the 1980′s, hiring professionals to do that for us. We participate in all the Audubon studies, giving Audubon free access to our land. Our streams are rated trout streams and we have threatened bird species living in our pastures that need big wildlife habitat. I am more interested in farming in tune with the wildlife of our farm than fake labels. My goal is to keep the land wild and pretty and supporting the species that we have. We have worked hard to maintain the traditional 1800′s barns on our farm rather than tearing them down as many have. Unfortunately, I am paid far less than the certified organic dairy farmers and upscale consumers spit in my face as well once they hear I am not certified organic.