How You Can Help Make Food Safer For Our Kids

Antibiotics in animals are reaching our kids. Here's how you can help.When my son was a baby he had one ear infection which took a few rounds of antibiotics before it went away.  Frankly, having him on so many antibiotics at such a young age gave me the creeps.  According to the CDC, antibiotic resistance has been called one of the world’s most pressing public health problems. April 16th is Supermoms Against Superbugs Advocacy Day, a day in which we acknowledge the overuse of antibiotics on farms and its contribution to the development of antibiotic resistant illnesses.

In our home we shop organic and free of hormones or chemicals every chance we have, simply because not doing so scares me.  There is clear evidence that antibiotic overuse on industrial farms is contributing to the development of infections (known as Superbugs) are resistant to antibiotics and can be transmitted to people through food, soil, air and water.  Our children are at an especially high risk because they have the highest rates of antibiotic use.

Think about this. While antibiotic use is closely monitored in children by most doctors, the antibiotics that are fed to crops are not monitored at all.  In fact, a recent article in the New York Times stated that up to 80% of the antibiotics sold in the United States goes to chicken, pigs, cows and other animals that people eat, yet producers of meat and poultry are not required to report how they use the drugs — which drugs are used, on what types of animal, and in what quantities.  And according to Pew Health Initiatives, in 2011 more antibiotics were sold for use in meat and poultry production than ever before.

It makes you think twice about what we are putting in our bodies.  Doesn’t it?

So on April 16th, parents, doctors, chefs, farmers, and survivors of drug-resistant infections will call on President Obama, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Congress to speak out against industrial farms’ antibiotic use and to put an end to the practices that threaten our health and the health of our children.  Yet you do not have to wait for April 16th.  You can get involved now.  Here’s how:
- Learn more about this advocacy day, about the overuse of antibiotics and how you can help by visiting www.SaveAntibiotics.org.
- Sign and pass on the word about this petition on Change.org calling on the USDA’s School Lunch Program to serve only meat and poultry that was raised without antibiotics.
- Add your name to this petition which is collecting signatures asking the White House to take immediate action to stop antibiotic overuse on industrial farms. 
- Ask your senators and representative to support the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, legislation that would withdraw the use of antibiotics from food animal production unless the drugs are not used in human medicine or animals are sick.
- Follow the conversation at #SaveAbx or #Supermoms on Twitter and participate in the #SaveAbx twitter chat on 4/12/13, 1-2 PM (EST).

As parents, we have the power and responsibility to protect the health of our children and ourselves. Let’s make a difference.  Don’t we have to?

Disclosure:  I wrote this post while participating in a blog campaign with One2One Network though I have not received any payment for this post.  As always, all opinions are my own.

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Comments

  1. I’ve never understood the purpose of giving the animals that antibiotics. There has to be better ways to keep them healthy than drugs.
    Another thing that I don’t understand is why hormone free & organic foods are so much more expensive than the others. It seems to me that they would cost less because the farmers don’t have to use all the chemicals and all that.

  2. the key is to find a doctor that is on board with how you want to manage your kid’s health. We have a great doc who practices traditional medicine in a traditional office with a lean towards natural healing and knowing the bodies strength for fighting some things on their own.

  3. After the extremely disappointing (actually I just don’t have a word for it) move that was made by this administration when it comes to Monsanto…I unfortunately have little hope. :(

  4. Thank you for sharing about this initiative. I’m signing both petitions now!

  5. I never knew a darn thing about any of this stuff until I was pregnant and then I cared. And now I will never stop caring. So glad there are so many great pushes for awareness as it is SO important!!

  6. It’s a shame that we keep moving away from natural farming practices. I don’t even have total faith in products that claim to be safer. In my dreams, we live on our own farm, LOL.

  7. I’m so nervous about what is in our food but have always felt like there isn’t much I can do about it! Thanks for giving me some ways to take action!

  8. It scares me, too that antibiotic use in kids isn’t monitored as frequently any more either because families can acquire them through drop-in clinics. It is so important to have a relationship with a physician you trust for that reason or to take important steps to avoid infections in the first place like your suggestion to eat organic food. Thanks for the tips!

  9. My daughter had so many ear infections as a baby, she ended up needing tubes in her ears because it was ridiculous. She was on such massive doses of antibiotics it skeeved me out too. I’m so glad to see more awareness being raised about overuse.

  10. This is so important. We have been trying to do all organic and food free from hormones. I just don’t see why it’s needed.

  11. Scary stuff! In recent years I’ve been paying MUCH more attention to the hormones in foods and trying to stay away from those. But, honestly, hadn’t given any thought to the antibiotics. Scary stuff. And, definitely makes you wonder if that’s what is partially contributing to all these drug-resistant strains of diseases now. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Such important words. This is a really big problem and one that I am so glad is starting to come into the forefront. With a background in bio, I have long realized the implications of these practices, but I think my level for wanting everyone else to realize it too changed when I had kids. Signing petitions now!

  13. I truly wish hormone and antibiotic free was more affordable for everyone, and a requirement for food banks. It’s scary to think about all we are putting into our bodies when we trust the food supply.

  14. Great info, Jessica! Scary stats. Thank you for the useful steps on how we can help.

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