I was stunned to hear a mother express guilt about being “unable to afford meat that doesn’t have antibiotics in it. ”I wondered how many parents who are trying to provide the best for their children have the misconception that their kids are consuming large doses of antibiotics because they can’t afford meat labeled “antibiotic free.”
One look at common questions being asked on Internet search engines tells us this misconception is distressingly common: “Are there antibiotics in my meat?” “Why is it bad to eat meat with antibiotics?”
The angst was evident in consumer interviews conducted by The Center for Food Integrity (CFI). Responses to the question “Are you concerned about antibiotics in your meat?” included, “I see antibiotics have less power and I can’t help wondering if it’s because we’re ingesting them,” and “I think it can cause antibiotic resistance problems in humans. I don’t think they should be used.”
“Free from” labels can lead to incorrect assumptions. In the case of antibiotics, the food system has failed consumers by not doing a good job of explaining labels.
There is one undeniable fact that should bring comfort to parents trying to provide safe, healthy meals for their families on a budget: multiple safeguards are in place to ensure the meat we buy in the grocery store – regardless of the label – is safe.