Food safety is a major topic for a lot of Americans. What people put in their bodies directly affects them, and it’s important to make sure products are safe. Antibiotics are used to prevent or treat diseases in animals. Like humans, animals are susceptible to bacteria, and antibiotics provide veterinarians and farmers with a tool to mitigate risks. Antibiotics are used following strict guidelines to ensure antibiotic residues do not remain in the final product distributed to consumers. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the body that regulates the use of antibiotics in livestock production.
Milk is tested for antibiotics before it goes to market, and if the milk doesn’t pass the FDA antibiotic residue standard, the milk is discarded. The producer also can face heavy fines and penalties if their product doesn’t pass the standard. The same stringent regulations and penalties exist for meat processing, as regulated by the Food Safety Inspection Service.
Learn more about antibiotic use in animal agriculture.
Similarly, some members of the population have questions about hormones used when raising livestock. There are hormones that are used for reproductive purposes and others used to promote growth. Please note that growth promoting hormones are not used at all in pork or poultry production.
For beef cattle, there are six approved hormones. Some of these hormones are naturally-occurring and others are synthetic. However, every hormone approved for use has been vetted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Hormones are approved only once studies show that food from animals using a specific hormone is safe for human consumption. The hormones work to increase feed efficiency and lean muscle mass.
Delve deeper into hormone use