Myths and Facts
Broiler Chicken Monster Myth
Myth: Broiler Chickens are being genetically modified to be bigger to produce more meat.
Fact: Today’s Broiler Chicken is larger than the past thanks to continuous advancements in poultry nutrition and selective breeding for desirable characteristics. There is no genetic engineering or modification in the broiler industry.
The Disappearing Family Farm
Myth: Family Farms are becoming a thing of the past.
Fact: Today, 98% of all U.S. farms are owned and operated by individuals, families, family partnerships, and family corporations. Some may be big, they may be incorporated; but they are family owned.
Corn is Bad for Cows
Myth: Corn is an unnatural diet for cattle and is only fed to cattle because it is cheap.
Fact: What do cows eat? They eat grasses. What is corn? Corn is a grass. When cattle eat corn they are eating the seeds of a grass, same as they do when they are wandering wild. Cattle have been fed grain for the past 200 years.
The E Coli Cows
Myth: Feeding cattle grain increases the risk of E Coli.
Fact: E Coli is found naturally in the environment and in the intestinal tracts of healthy animals regardless of their diet or what production method they are raised in. Remember, all E Coli can be destroyed by properly cooking your meat at the right temperature.
The Pesky Truth about Pesticides & Organics
Myth: Organic producers do not use pesticides.
Fact: Organic fruit and vegetable growers use insecticides and fungicides that are approved for organic growers. These are inorganic substances (such as copper and sulfur), microbes and toxic plant extracts. They are all registered as pesticides by the EPA and must pass the same regulatory safety tests as do the synthetic chemicals used by non-organic growers.
The Celebrity of Organic
Myth: Organic or “slow food” is safer than “conventional” food.
Fact: All U.S. meat and poultry is subject to the same stringent government regulations and inspection procedures that ensure safety. In crop agriculture, the industry is stridently self-regulating and also governmentally regulated through EPA, USDA and FDA.
The Much Healthier Organic
Myth: Organic foods are more nutritious than conventionally grown foods.
Fact: Research does not support this claim. Organic food differs from conventionally produced food in the way that it is grown, handled, and processed. The bottom line: eat a healthy balanced diet and what you can afford. But don’t choose one over the other because of perceived nutrition benefits.
We’re Creating Antibiotic Resistant Bugs
Myth: The antibiotics used in animal agriculture are creating antibiotic resistance in our children.
Fact: To date, no scientific research exist that show antibiotics used for animal health is creating antibiotic resistant bugs. This use of antibiotics is carefully and extensively regulated by USDA and the FDA.
Mishandling Antibiotics in Animal Agriculture
Myth: Animal agriculture is not wise in its use of antibiotics.
For cattle feedlots, only cattle that are sick receive antibiotics. These cattle are removed from the general pens and taken to a hospital pen until they are healthy. These animals go through a 90-day hold period, meaning they cannot be sold for processing until 90 days after they received their last dosage. All antibiotics have left the animals system after this length of time.
These same waiting period requirements (though periods vary based on animal) apply to chickens and pork as well.
Poor Animal Treatment in Packing Houses
Myth: Animals in meat packing plants are not treated humanely.
Fact: The industry is subject to the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958. Federal inspectors are present in meat plants at all times and are fully empowered to take action against a plant for Humane Slaughter Act violations.
Our Unsafe Food Supply
Myth: Current food production methods are creating an unsafe food supply.
Fact: The U.S. population eats on average 3 meals a day, 365 days a year. When you look at the data that means 99.9 percent of meals are consumed safely without incident. Also, think about how many of the “contaminated” meals became that way because of incorrect handling practices during preparations and because of undercooked food.
The Hidden Factory Farm
Myth: People cannot tour meat and poultry plants or poultry and swine operations because they do not want people to see the abuse and inhumane care the animals are receiving.
Fact: Although some speculate that the industry “does not want the public to see what they do,” nothing could be further from the truth. The inability to tour these facilities is to ensure the health of the animals. Most of the biosecurity methods many animal facilities have, prevent humans from coming in to keep disease out of the facilities.
The Mystery of Monsanto
Myth: Monsanto declined to participate in the film Food Inc.
Truth: Monsanto did not decline to participate in the film and in fact, invited film makers to a trade show to learn more about Monsanto, agriculture, and talk with farmers. The crew opted not to attend the show.
Information in this paper was taken from:
Animal agriculture veterinarians that were interviewed