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3 Things You Must Know About Antibiotics And Meat

A closer look at a hot-button issue.
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Our reliance on antibiotics has caught up with us: By using them so much, we've created potentially deadly bacteria (a.k.a. superbugs) that are resistant to the drugs. In response, national companies like Tyson Foods and McDonald's have announced they'll no longer sell chicken treated with antibiotics that are vital to human health. But as you rethink your eating habits, keep in mind:

Limiting antibiotics in animals won't solve our superbug problem. Only about one in five cases of antibiotic-resistant infections in the U.S. is related to food. The bigger culprit? Antibiotics we take when we don't really need them.

All meat is technically antibiotic-free. Despite what some food labels may say, "all conventionally raised animals have to go through a withdrawal period before slaughter," says Deborah Murray, a swine vet in Minnesota. "So there should be no detectable traces of antibiotics by the time meat reaches the consumer."

But if you want food from animals that are completely drug-free, look for the label NO ANTIBIOTICS with the USDA PROCESS VERIFIED seal. Without it, suppliers can still use versions created just for animals.

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