Another Reason to Follow the Paleo Diet - Antibiotics in our Food… AGAIN

If ever there was another reason to follow the Paleo diet and eat food that is as pure as possible, this is it. The FDA is allowing meat producers to continue to add antibiotics to the food fed to animals in Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). This continues to threaten the health of the meat eating public.

As reported on Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website:

Good product and long expiration date; arrived quickly. Viagra 100mg? All the medications one can see in our product lists are generic.

Hogs in a Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO). Image courtesy of

On December 22, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) quietly posted a notice in the Federal Register that it was effectively reneging on its plan to reduce the use of antibiotics in agricultural animal feed – a plan it has been touting since 1977.

Now, with virtually no public announcement, the FDA has decided it will continue to allow livestock producers to use the drugs in feed, unabated; a move that is threatening food safety by contributing to the spread of new, antibiotic-resistant “super-germs.”

From the Federal Register:

“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or the Agency) is withdrawing two 1977 notices of opportunity for a hearing (NOOH), which proposed to withdraw certain approved uses of penicillin and tetracyclines intended for use in feeds for food-producing animals based in part on microbial food safety concerns.”

In case you didn’t know this, the primary reason for the use of antibiotics in HEALTHY animals is to promote faster weight gain. This gets the animals to market sooner, reducing the cost of keeping the animals fed and watered. This produces highly profitable, inexpensive meat. The main reason that the producers give for for adding antibiotics to the feed, is to prevent the animals from getting sick in the CAFOs. Nearly 80%  of the antibiotics sold today in the U.S. are used in agriculture.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has this to say about the use

of antibiotics:

“Continuous, low-dose administration of an antibiotic can increase the rate and efficiency of weight gain in healthy livestock. The presence of antibiotics likely changes the composition of the gut flora to favor growth. Debate is ongoing as to how gut flora are changed; change may simply be a reduction in numbers, a change in species composition or a combination of the two.… Some antibiotics may also enhance feed consumption and growth by stimulating metabolic processes within the animal.”

The problem with feeding antibiotics to healthy animals is that the bacteria become resistant to antibiotics when really needed by humans and animals. The meat industry has taken one the most useful medications and destroyed its efficacy. The FDA produced a guideline in 2010 which suggested that livestock producers cease using these small doses of antibiotic in animal feed:

“Antimicrobial drugs have been widely used in human and veterinary medicine for more than 50 years … The development of resistance to this important class of drugs, and the resulting loss of their effectiveness as antimicrobial therapies, poses a serious public health threat.

Misuse and overuse of antimicrobial drugs creates selective evolutionary pressure that enables antimicrobial resistant bacteria to increase in numbers more rapidly than antimicrobial susceptible bacteria and thus increases the opportunity for individuals to become infected by resistant bacteria. Because antimicrobial drug use contributes to the emergence of drug resistant organisms, these important drugs must be used judiciously in both animal and human medicine to slow the development of resistance.”

Grass-fed cattle. Photo by Ryan Thompson of the USDA. Image courtesy of

The whole scenario is alarming. While I personally advocate natural remedies to fight colds an bacterial infections, there are times when using antibiotics are necessary and life saving. Imagine you start taking the antibiotic and it doesn’t work, and you need this to save your life!  This is another reason to follow the Paleo diet - boosting your immune system to fight bacterial infection naturally without the need for antibiotics.

It is apparent that we cannot rely on the government to monitor the food industry for safety. My individualistic sense of responsibility tells me that I should never do so anyway. So what do we do? We take our health into our own hands. Be responsible for what goes into your body on all levels.  To start with buy your meat from small family farms where you know that they’ve not added anything to the feed to enhance growth in any way. Your best bet is to bus grass fed and pastured meat. Know your farmer!

More and more we are give good reasons to follow the Paleo diet - there are only two in listed in this article: antibiotics in our food and boosting our immune systems  to prevent infection in the first place. You can add to the list, disease prevention, weight loss, boosting ones energy, but these are topics for another day.  Bottom line: know your farmer, know your meat!



Did you enjoy this?

If you liked this article, enter your email below and we will send you a brief and focused newsletter every Thursday morning. No fluff, no spam, no advertising. Just the best of the best recipes, articles, and news.

2 Responses to Another Reason to Follow the Paleo Diet - Antibiotics in our Food… AGAIN

  1. Jim Purdy January 28, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    The evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is pretty scary. It’s sad that most Americans don’t understand how evolution works, more than 150 years after Darwin published “Origin of Species.”

    And with so many antibiotic-resistant hospital-acquired infections (staph, MRSA, VRE, C-diff), wouldn’t it be great if hospital food were from antibiotic-free animals?

    • Lila Solnick January 28, 2012 at 5:39 pm

      It is a bit scary. That’s why the best defense is to boost your immune system with a paleo diet or similar and to raise vitamin D3 levels. I hardly ever get sick anymore and I can usually beat it quickly when I do.

      Thanks for commenting!