As consumers become more and more aware of the importance of eating high quality, healthy foods, there is a raising concern in regard to the nutrition of animals we eat. Many people expressed concerns about resistant bacteria and the antibiotics given by meat companies to their livestock. This determined a tendency among food producers to switch to an antibiotics-free policy. It’s also true that this tendency has been ignited by the Food and Drug Administration, in response to repeated requests from the consumers.
Meat companies that spotted the opportunity of gaining some good market share even from the beginning of this new age in raising livestock launched new brands of chicken raised without antibiotics. So far, industry estimates show that only 5% of the meat sold within the US is antibiotics-free, but this share will surely increase rapidly, as consumer awareness increases.
Safety and ethics of food production are the two main concerns of most consumers. We all want our food to be grown in a humane manner, without nutrition that makes them grow faster, without hormones or antibiotics. The biggest problems arise when people develop bacterial infections that are resistant to antibiotics. The reason is that we all use too many antibiotics, even if we do it indirectly by eating the meat of animals that were given antibiotics in order to speed up their growth.
This is an ongoing debate between industry representatives and consumer associations, meat producers claiming that antibiotics are needed in order to maintain the livestock in good health and prevent mass diseases. They say products used in animals are totally different than the ones for human use, thus not contributing to resistance problems. Nonetheless, scientists have a different opinion and their raised concerns since many years ago.
Hopefully, more and more food producers will understand the importance of a healthy nutrition, so they are going to seek for the best solutions to offer meat that’s safe for consumption. Some of them have already started to shift toward a better lifestyle for their animals, so the availability of free-range meat on the market has significantly improved over the past few years. The increasing demand for free-range products is also a signal that things have started to change in the food industry. People realize it’s better to pay a little more for the food but decrease the risk of becoming sick, so things can only become better from this point on.