Just the facts. From the experts.
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Antibiotics in the Food Supply?

Many people love milk, meat and eggs. But with the use of antibiotics in animals that produce those products, is it contributing to antibiotic resistance in humans? Registered Dietitian Carolyn O'Neil gets the facts from Michael Doyle, PhD, Center for Food Safety, University of Georgia. 

Eating Well: Get Creative with Cauliflower

2/19/2014

No longer relegated to the veggie tray, vitamin C-rich cauliflower is showing up on pizzas and adding a healthy halo to pastas and sauces.

Do Antibiotics Do More Harm Than Good?

2/17/2014

When used correctly, antibiotics can be an important tool to keep animals healthy and create a safe food supply.

True? Or Not? "Large farms are bad for the environment."

Manure from farm animals when used as fertilizer improves soil and increases crop yields. It can become a pollutant if it reaches water supplies.

Farm animal production in the United States has clearly shifted away from many small farms to an increasing number of larger farms. It takes several small farms to equal the manure production of a single large farm. On the large farm, the manure management responsibility lies with only one management system instead of several.

True? Or Not? "Food from organic and free-range farm animals is safer than animals raised in modern confinement buildings."

The popularity of organic and other niche-market products has increased in recent years primarily boosted by consumer perceptions that they are healthier and of higher quality. There is limited scientific data to support or refute the safety of such products.

Studies have found that pathogen prevalence is actually higher in niche market/ free range antibiotic-free farm animal production systems compared to conventional confinement operations.

True? Or Not? "Elimination of farm subsidies will reduce obesity and associated health problems."

Many advocates argue that US Department of Agriculture (USDA) policies that establish farm prices for crops, provide subsidies to farmers and provide consumers with access to an abundant and affordable food supply are responsible for the increasing number of adults and children facing the challenges of obesity and diabetes. However, Julian M. Alston, with the University of California-Davis Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, says his research shows that eliminating farm subsidies would do little to change obesity rates, noting that consumers do not necessarily change food purchase patterns based on cost and that advances in technology and efficiencies on the farm have more to do with the low cost of today’s food than USDA policies and programs.

True? Or Not? "Regular use of antibiotics in healthy cows, pigs and chickens has led to increased antibiotic resistance in humans eating meat products."

Are antibiotics in livestock to blame for increased antibiotic resistance in humans?

Are Fruits and Vegetables Sprayed with Pesticides Less Safe than Organic Produce?

10/28/2013

In all forms, fruits and vegetables are inherently nutritious, no matter whether eaten fresh, canned or frozen. In recent years, a number of marketing tactics have presented organic fruits to be safer, based on the premise that they are grown without pesticides. In truth, both organic and conventional farmers use pesticides on their crops.

True? Or Not? "Many U.S. farmers would not be able to make a living raising corn and other high-acreage field crops without government subsidies."

Like all businesses, farming is subject to the prevailing market forces that dictate whether production is expanded or contracted based on input and labor costs as well as the existing market opportunities. While farm payments help some farmers navigate tough market conditions in the short-term, farm payments do not necessary effect the long-term viability of producers or the price of food.

True? Or Not? "Food grown and produced in the U.S. is as safe or safer than food grown outside the U.S."

With the increasing number of recalls in the news, many Americans are wondering if their food is safe. There is still a lot of room for improvement but overall, the U.S. food safety system works as well or better than most countries.

Foods produced and processed in the most industrially developed countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia/New Zealand and the European Union (EU) are similar in quality and safety, but food from developing nations varies widely.

 

True? Or Not? "Meat from grass-fed cattle is safer than meat from cattle that are fed corn."

Experts conclude that there is no greater level of meat safety from cattle fed grass versus those fed corn.

True? Or Not? "The well-being of farm animals on larger operations is disregarded in the pursuit of higher profits."

The question is often asked by critics of modern animal agriculture but the size of the farm is not a reliable indicator of animal welfare. Research shows good animal husbandry has more to do with the people providing the care.

Small and large farms present different challenges, but both require skilled and conscientious management to promote good animal care. While there are fewer animals on a small operation, time spent caring for the animals must be juggled with various tasks. On larger operations...

True? Or Not? "Contract production put farmers at an economic disadvantage and harms farming communities."

Like other business owners, farmers have different skills, expertise, financial positions, and appetites for risk. Reducing costs and risk through contracts allows a farmer to establish a steady income source that is attractive to traditional farm lenders.

In contract production, the farmer is responsible for construction of the barns and the day-to-day labor while someone else, either another farmer or a company, provides...

What Do Cows Eat?

10/18/2013

Ever wonder what went into the steak that winds up on your dinner table? It’s common knowledge that corn is a dietary staple for food animals, but what else do they eat? We contacted Dr. Danelle Bickett-Weddle, lecturer and associate director at the Center for Food Security and Public Health, Iowa State University, to find out more.

Is Tilapia Safe to Eat?

9/24/2013

Recently, Best Food Facts received a reader question asking, "Is tilapia safe to eat? I've heard that it's often farm raised in countries where there are no guidelines, and they are essentially raised in waste and pumped full of antibiotics."

To answer this question and learn more about tilapia, we reached out to Kevin Fitzsimmons, PhD, Professor, Extension Specialist & Research Scientist at the University of Arizona

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