In an interview with UC Berkeley’s Public Affairs dept., J-School prof Michael Pollan throws water on McDonald’s announcement of intentions to cut back on antibiotics in beef. Pollan distinguishes between antibiotics used to spur growth and those given to fight disease. McDonald’s has only agreed to cut back on antibiotics for growth.
What McDonald’s has done is say that they will favor suppliers that are not using antibiotics for growth promotion. Now they didn’t say anything about the other use of antibiotics. “Prevent disease outbreaks” is key. In that sentence is the license to continue including antibiotics in the feed every day. The other question that comes to mind: If you’re using antibiotics both for growth promotion and to control disease, how do you know which is which?
Something I didn’t know before reading this: Cattle are now ready for slaughter in 14 months, rather than in three years. Good thing, too, because they couldn’t live much longer on account of their livers being shot full of holes by an acidic diet of corn, rather than the mellow grass they’ve evolved to eat. That’s why we don’t eat beef liver anymore – 40% – 60% of beef livers are full of abcesses by the time the cattle are 14 months old.
This just makes me so, so sad. I really do need to read Fast Food Nation.