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26 July 2006

USDA seeks to weaken standards for organic beef

The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service is seeking to increase the number of substances that could be used on cows that are to be deemed organic. has a list of all eight substances, most of which are used to combat maladies common to feedlot cattle. The list includes bismuth subsalicylate, the active ingredient in Pepto-Bismol, which would be used for stomach ulcer relief, as well as poloxalene, used to keep cattle from getting bloated. Both bloating and ulcers are often the result of a corn-heavy diet that grass-eating cows aren't used to. also reports on the proposed changes, but with a bit more of a slant than CattleNetwork.

If the USDA's proposed rule passes, livestock will be treated with such chemicals as:

Atropine, a lethal belladonna extract used to treat pesticide exposure. The NOP approved the use of atropine after consulting with the EPA and FDA.

Bismuth subsalicyate, an anti-diarrhea drug used to treat ulcers. The FDA said that bismuth could be approved for use in livestock, because it is already approved for use in humans.

Butorphanol, a pre-surgical painkiller that was recommended for use by the National Organic Standards Board; but they requested that slaughter or sale of milk from the treated cow be twice as long as the FDA requirement (an extension the USDA feels is unnecessary).

Flunxin is a non-narcotic and non-steroidal drug used to treat inflammation or pyrexia. Like Butorphanol, the NOSB requested the time between use of the substance and slaughter or milking be twice what the FDA recommends and, again, the USDA felt the measure unnecessary.

Furosemide, a diuretic drug -- used to treat udder and pulmonary edema -- that the NOSB also requested have an extended period to flush out of an animal before its milk or meat is sold for consumption. The USDA said the extension was unnecessary for this drug too.

Magnesium hydroxide is a naturally occurring mineral that can be used to treat stomach troubles, constipation and acid indigestion.

Peroxyacetic/paracetic acid, which is approved as an indirect food additive by the FDA, is a sanitizer used to clean processing equipment and to disinfect animals, meat and dairy.

Poloxalene, is a synthetic stool softener that can treat bloat in cattle, and while the NOSB recommends that the substance only be approved for emergency situations, the USDA wants it to be added to feed as a preventative measure.

Why are cows so sick? Conventional cows are fed a diet full of grains and corn which are not their natural diet. As such like humans who eat excess grains, they start suffering from digestive problems. Eat only cows which are grass fed, these are incredibly health promoting and easy to find even in Singapore. Understand that organic beef if raised on organic grain feed is just as detrimental.

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