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Farmers, dairies work to keep antibiotics out of food supply

Reported by: Gerard Ramalho
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Updated: 5/01 9:05 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV -- If you're not taking antibiotics regularly, you may be eating them in your food. And valley health experts say this growing trend could have dangerous consequences.

Many -- but certainly not all -- farmers routinely give livestock antibiotics. But some local companies are doing their best to keep these medications out of your refrigerator.

At Quail Hollow Farm in Overton, antibiotics never make it into the food supply.
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“The only time we would ever give an animal an antibiotic is if it were ill,” said Laura Bledsoe. “But it is not a matter of routine, and I don't think we've given an antibiotic for over five years now.”

In the rare case that an animal does receive medication, it's temporarily taken out of the food chain. Turns out, just like humans, a healthy lifestyle reduces animal illness.

“Again, this is how they were meant to live-out in fresh air, eating fresh things from the ground,” Bledsoe said.

However, at many U.S. farms, animals are routinely given antibiotics. The drugs are designed to keep them healthy and increase their growth or production.

When you go to the grocery store, you think you know what's in your food, but you may be surprised.

Statistics from the Food and Drug Administration show that in 2011, 80 percent of the country's antibiotic supply was given to animals, not people.

The trend has prompted documentaries like "Fresh” and even a scathing op-ed piece from the former head of the FDA, David Kessler.

Antibiotics also can make it into what you drink -- but not at Anderson Dairy in downtown Las Vegas.

Every incoming shipment is checked for antibiotics.

According to company Vice President Dave Coon, even though the dairy only uses known, regional farmers, Anderson has been checking for medication in its dairy products for decades.

But this level of diligence is not necessarily the norm.

Some farmers hope the trend will change, thereby reducing the amount of antibiotics the public ingests up every year, either by design or by accident.


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