FARMS TURN TO OREGANO FOR HOPES OF HEALTHIER CHICKENS.

nina | December 28th, 2012 - 9:00 am

Some farms are using oregano in the feed for their chickens.  Oregano lies loose in trays and tied into bunches on tabletops and counters, and drums filled with oregano oil.

Farms are using a specially milled diet laced with oregano oil and a touch of cinnamon.  Some farmers swear by the concoction as a way to fight off bacterial diseases that plague meat and poultry producers without resorting to antibiotics, which some believe can be detrimental to the humans who eat the meat.  Farms that have been free of antibiotics, have increased their success due to consumers having a higher demand for purer foods.

Oil of oregano is a perennial one and advertised as a cure for just about everything.  Some feel the remedy for reduction in the use of antibiotics in animals.

At the same time, consumers are growing increasingly sophisticated about the content of the foods that they eat.  Data on sales of antibiotic-free meat is hard to come by, but the sales are at an infraction of the overall meat market.  Sales in the United States of organic meat, poultry and fish, which by law must be raised without antibiotics, totaled $538 million in 2011, according to the Organic Trade Association.  By comparison, sales of all beef that year were $79 billion.

In a nationwide telephone survey of 1,000 adults last March, more than 60 percent said that they would be willing to pay at least 5 cents a pound more for meat raised without antibiotics.

Contributing the the confluence of trends, from heightened interest in whole and natural foods to growing concerns about medical problems like diabetes, obesity and gluten allergies, were contributing to the demand for antibiotic-free meat.

In 2011, there were several prominent recalls involving bacterial strains that are resistant to anttibiotics, including more than 60 million pounds of ground beef contaminated with salmonella Typhimurium and about 36 million pounds of ground turkey spoiled with salmonella Heidelberg.

Analysis of Food and Drug Administration data by the Center for Science in the Public Interest found that 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the United States are used in animals.  The majority of those antibiotics are used to spur growth or prevent infections from spreading in the  crowded conditions in which most animal production takes place today.

When using oregano oil to control bacterial infection, also keep in mind this requires maintaining high standards of sanitation in barns where animals are sheltered, as well as good ventilation and light and a good nutrition program.   After a flock leaves for slaughter, the facility is hosed down, its water lines are cleaned out and everything is disinfected. According to Termite Survey and Pest Control, it sits empty for two to three weeks to allow bacteria to die off and to ensure that the rodents that carry salmonella and campylobacter are eliminated.

Source:  nytimes.com; 12.25.2012

 

 

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