Are Illegal Drugs Hiding in Your Food?

A recent round of investigations conducted by the FDA found several shocking safety violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act in animal products sold for human consumption.

In Ohio, a veal calf was found to contain sulfamethoxazole, “which has no acceptable level in calves sold for veal,” reports Food Safety News. Another Ohio seller was sent a warning letter over selling misbranded and potentially dangerous cheeses. A violation occurred In Iowa where a cattle rancher reportedly sold a steer with excessive levels of another regulated drug called florfenicol. In Connecticut, serious violations of seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations were found to pose human health risks. And there have been numerous warnings sent to dairy producers for a number of safety violations including the discovery of illegal drug residue in milk products.

Now, the Center for Science in the Public Interest has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for FDA data on the illegal drug residues found in the U.S. milk supply, with hopes of getting some answers and resolutions.

“[C]onsumers have a right to know what’s in their milk, and if there are dangerous drugs in it, they need to know what the FDA is doing about that,” CSPI senior food safety attorney David Plunkett said in a statement. “Why are those dairies that either can’t or won’t follow the rules allowed to continue to market milk?”

These findings make the case for buying products with the certified organic seal on all the more important for your health, and especially if you’re feeding these food products to children. Not to mention the health of the animals throughout the production cycle.

Not only are certified organic products free from illegal and legal drugs (like antibiotics), but they’re also guaranteed to be free from genetically modified organisms, which are common in conventional animal feed. Most certified organic farms are considerably smaller than conventional farms and are invested in the health and happiness of the animals as well.

Transparency in our food system should start with the manufacturer, but that’s not always the case. Organic foods are now widely available across the country, and in order for them to continue to be available, consumers must vote with their dollars and let manufacturers know what they value and why spending more on clean food is a worthwhile investment.


Image: mdalmud


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