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Options Available For Those Wanting to Avoid Antibiotics in Farm Aminals

A new alert from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is raising new concerns about the use of antibiotics in farm animals and whether that practice is contributing to a rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria.

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[The USDA Organic seal certifies that meat was raised without antibiotics]

Trish Strawn and Andy Duda both come from multi-generation commercial farm families. But both have parted ways with their family’s historic practices. Strawn’s family raised cattle. In 2006- she and her father inherited the family's DeLand ranching business, scaled it back and began raising antibiotic-free grass-fed  beef. She says inheriting the ranch forced them to learn more and ask more questions.

“You can’t harvest an animal for 21 days after an antibiotic has been put in it? Well, why is that? You know those kinds of things are the ones where we were like, if we can’t harvest it tomorrow, why would we put that in our animal,” she says.

Antibiotics are given to beef, pork, poultry and farmed fish, which might make it seem like it would be hard to avoid. But Strawn says there is an increasing number of farmers skipping antibiotics as a farming practice.  Andy Duda is among them.  He farms shrimp in Southwest Florida. He says because his farming practices are clean, natural and low-density, he doesn’t need to use antibiotics. The issue of antibiotic resistance has some people questioning whether the Food and Drug Administration will readdress the use of antibiotics in farm animals- which Duda says could be tricky.

“I believe that some regulation is important, I think that would be beneficial, I think consumer awareness is where it really, really matters,” he says. Strawn and Duda agree on that point. They say if people start avoiding farm animals raised with antibiotics then things will change. They both say raising their animals in a healthier environment that doesn’t require antibiotics results in a better product. Both farmers are favored among the area’s high end chefs, but Strawn says there are plenty of local farmers who raise animals without antibiotics, you just have to make the effort to find them. And the USDA says any meat sold with the USDA Organic Certified seal was raised without antibiotics or hormones.  


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