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5 Reasons to Choose Antibiotic-free Meat

Antibiotics are routinely given to livestock as a part of their feed to promote faster growth and to prevent diseases that may result from unhealthy living conditions. In fact, an astonishing 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to animals, not people. You can limit your family's exposure to superbugs and help preserve the efficacy of antibiotics for everyone by saying no to products from animals raised with antibiotics. 

Here are 5 reasons to choose antibiotic-free animal products.

1. The vast majority of antibiotics in animal feed have never been evaluated for superbug risk.

Of the 270 drugs used in chickens, pigs, and cattle that contain antibiotics considered medically important for treating humans, the FDA has vetted just seven percent for superbug risk. In 2003, the FDA announced plans to evaluate every new animal drug's potential to create superbugs. Problem is, most drugs currently being administered were approved before 2003. In other words, they were grandfathered in and aren't subject to evaluation. (source)

Even Meat Labeled "No Nitrates or Nitrites Added" Contains Harmful Nitrites

For those trying to avoid the cancer-linked preservatives nitrates and nitrites, I have some bad news.

All processed meats -- that's bacon, deli meat, sausages, hot dogs, pepperoni, salami -- contain nitrates and nitrites, even those natural or organic products labeled as "uncured" with "no nitrates or nitrites added." Take a look at the additional (sometimes very fine) print on your favorite "uncured" meat and you will most likely find some wording similar to the following: "no nitrates or nitrites added except for those naturally occurring in ingredients such as celery juice powder, parsley, cherry powder, beet powder, spinach, sea salt etc." (emphasis mine).

The no nitrites exception is easier to find on some labels than on others.

The truth is that both conventional and natural/ organic processed meat products rely on nitrates and nitrites for enhanced taste and shelf life. The difference is the source. Conventional processed meats typically are cured with synthetic sources of nitrates and nitrites, such as sodium nitrite, while organic and natural meats typically rely on naturally-occurring sources of nitrates, such as celery or sea salt, as preservatives.

The Perks of Being a Regular at the Farmers Market

No matter what time of day I shop, this farmer gives me the end-of-the-day special.

Find your local farmers markets here.

I've been shopping at the same small neighborhood farmers market for about four years. Shopping at the farmers market has numerous benefits, from fresher and better tasting produce, to the welcome absence of produce stickers and high fructose corn syrup. Here are some of the perks that I get for being a regular that go above and beyond the regular benefits.

End of the day price

In peak season, our favorite stone fruit vendor sells her peaches, nectarines, peaches, and pluots for $2 per pound at the beginning of the day, $1.50 per pound midday, and $1 per pound at the end of the day. But when I buy stone fruit, no matter what time of day, she always charges me $1 per pound. This means I can afford to buy 7 to 10 pounds of deliciousness every week. This is one example of the many special deals I receive as a regular. Farmers appreciate a loyal customer.