John’s Response To John’s Hopkins Lectures

After listening to the John’s Hopkins lectures, I was left with a very clear cut view of what America’s Industrial food industry is all about. The truth hurts sometimes and what I found out after listening to the lectures was nothing less than shocking. First of all, The rationale’s for industrializing the food industry are…

  • Free Americans from farm labor
  • Make food cheaper
  • Encourage Consumerism                                                                          The First U.S. industrial food plant was Union Stock Yards in Chicago, and this was the just the start of a fast-moving industry.

There are seven characteristics of Industrialization, and they all play key roles on how these industries function.

  • Specialization—Operations can operate more efficiently off fewer tasks. One farmer gathers the food for the livestock while one feeds the livestock.
  • Mechanization—The replacement of human and animal labor with machines
  • Standardization—Working together more effectively by adopting uniform practices. Parts built for standard specifications.
  • Technology, inputs—Using new technology to get the same job done faster and more efficiently
  • Economies of scale—as food system became industrialized. Mass production of food.
  • Consolidation—Larger and fewer facilities. Bigger farms with fewer farmers
  • Concentration—The extent to which a small number of corporations control a large part of the sales.

After industries started operating and America started embracing them, quality of food started dropping and these industries started caring more about making money than the harmful side effects of the food the were producing. One of the biggest effects of food industrialization is the risk of Pesticide Exposure. These exposures can lead to Cancers, Reproductive Harms, Endocrine disruption, Nervous system impacts, and death.

Other side effects of industrialization can harm the entire earth especially when farmers started using Synthetic Fertilizers. These fertilizers can deplete organic matter, and create Dead Zones which are areas in which animals cannot survive.

Also Resources started depleting, whether it was topsoil, groundwater, fossil fuels, or mineral fertilizers.

What are they feeding our animals?

  • Antibiotics and synthetic hormones
  • Reprocessed animals that died during the production process
  • Animal waste, waste from industrial processes

What’s in animal waste?

  • Bacteria, Protozoa, Viruses, Animal dander, Pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, hormones, nutrients.

Occupational Exposures

  • 5,000,000 workers, no federal oversight, no access to personal protective equipment, workers and families

Air quality concerns

  • Gases—ammonia, hydrogen, sulfide
  • Volatile organic compounds, poultry houses and swine production
  • Particles, microorganisms, animal dander

These industries also started using antibiotics and resistance, these consisted of…

  • Clinical medicine
  • Animal agriculture, terrestrial, aquaculture
  • Other uses, crop production, ethanol production
  • The extent of the problem of resistance that can be blames on antibiotic use in IFAP is unclear

Antimicrobial Use

  • Multiple purposes (FDA)
  • Treatment
  • Control
  • Prevention
  • Production, Growth promotion, and feed conversion

Antibiotic Resistance was also a big factor in food industries,

  • Primary mechanisms of development and dissemination of resistance
    • Natural Selection
    • Sharing of resistance genes
    • Mutagenesis
    • Reservoir of resistance
  • Recent Findings
    • Community dynamics
  • Horizontal Gene Transfer
    • Bacterial transformation-one bacteria releases dna and another bacteria pics that up
    • Phage virus infection
    • Bacterial conjugation-two cells share bacteria by contact with one another
  • The “resistome” –bacteria that aren’t pathogenic can harbor genes that can harbor genes that can confer existence
  • Bacteria altruism—bacteria that have mutation allowing drug resistance can share chemical signals with drug-susceptible bacteria
  • Formally susceptible bacteria can become resistant
  • Most antibiotics in IFAP are administered through feed or water
  • IFAP—Industrial food animal production

Exposure, Risk, and Relevant Policy

  • Health and economic burden
    • Resistant infections respond poorly to one or more antibiotics and increase mortality risk
      • Estimated 19,000 deaths from HAI in 2001
    • Hospital stays are longer and more costly for resistant infections
  • Denmark passed legislation to restrict use of non-therapeutic antimicrobials in swine production
    • Indicators of animal health have revealed a beneficial effect
    • Total antibiotic consumption has declined by more than 50 percent
  • Animal Drug User Fee Act (2008)—FDA collects and releases aggregated sales data for antibiotics in food animal production
  • Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA)
    • Limits the use of “medically important” antibiotics in food animal production
  • Strategies to Address Antimicrobial Resistance Act (STAAR)
    • Data collection and dissemination regarding antibiotics use in humans and animals
    • Funding for interagency task force “real time” monitoring
    • Roxarsone-
      • Additive in poultry and swine feed since mid 1940’s
      • Approved for growth promotion, improved pigmentation, treatment of swine dysentery
        • In poultry production: 88% raised using Roxarsone
        • Single domestic producer
      • Since Roxarsone is in chickens, the waste from chickens contains Roxarsone and that is the transferred to beef, chicken, air, seafood, and soil
      • Inorganic Arsenic-related health risks
        • Arsenic is a well characterized human carcinogen
          • Lung, Bladder, skin
          • Transplacental carcinogen
          • More health risks like cardiovascular disease and birth defects
        • Regulatory Agencies/Mechanisms
          • Use of Roxarsone creates environmental public health issues that extend beyond the jurisdiction of any single federal agency
        • No existing standards addressing arsenic in animal waste
        • No indication of further FDA actions based on re-evaluation of arson.
        • Federal Bill introduced by Steve Israel, The “Poison-free poultry Act”
        • Maryland bills: 2010/2011

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