Providing Facts on Antibiotic Use in Livestock

February 15, 2010 06:00 PM

By Kim Watson

Last week, CBS Evening News featured reports on antibiotic use in livestock and poultry but misrepresented information that the livestock industry is working to correct. The segments looked at the use of antibiotics in livestock and poultry production and the threat on human health. Many in the livestock industry saw the segments as one-sided and have been working to counter some of the misinformation.

Soon after the report aired, Iowa State University veterinarian H. Scott Hurd provided information on the science and safety of livestock antibiotics. Hurd, a senior epidemiologist at Iowa State's College of Veterinary Medicine and a former USDA deputy under secretary for food safety, prepared written report presenting the facts based on available knowledge and information regarding the use of antibiotics in livestock and how they may affect the health of animals, people and food safety.

Over the weekend, he wrote a guest column in the Des Moines Register on the topic and said, "I don't accept antibiotics in my meat! And, it is critically important to understand that meat consumed in America is to be free from antibiotic residues. The presence of residues is illegal. As a former leader in the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service, I can assure you the system checks carefully for the presence of this stuff in meat. However, today's concern is about the possibility of resistant bacteria."

Follow this link to read more of the counterarguments and find links to the CBS news segments at


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