Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website www.lenoreskomal.net.   Read more about this blog.
Posted: February 26th, 2013
Should antibiotics be listed on meat packages?

I say yes. And that’s exactly where Maryland is going with proposed state legislation that would require meat and poultry processing plants in Maryland to bear a label identifying which antibiotics the animals consumed. Another bill works to restrict the use of antimicrobial drugs in food-producing animals.

According to the National Institutes of Health, antimicrobial drugs are common in animal raised for consumption, since “disease is inevitable in all animals, whether farm animals or pets, and healthy animals may also be carriers and asymptomatic excreters of pathogens. The use of antimicrobial drugs varies between species and may be influenced by husbandry and the pattern of trade in a particular class of animal.”

Proponents of the bill site the obvious public health concerns about what’s in the food they’re eating. The public should have the right to know what exactly they are eating and then be allowed to choose on their own.

Critics say the measure will only serve to scare consumers and undermines federal authority wielded by the FDA, which is supposed to ensure the safety of the food we eat.

All in all, the legislation, if passed, will be limited in scope since the majority of processed meats that come into Maryland are not grown and processed there. But still, it’s a start.

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