The term “antibiotic-free” has started showing up on food labels and in marketing campaigns, as a way to differentiate between meat from animals treated with antibiotics and meat from animals who were not given antibiotics.
But the term “antibiotic-free” is misleading.
Because the truth is, all food is antibiotic-free.
Farmers sometimes use antibiotics to promote animal health, but they follow strict dosing guidelines from the FDA (Food & Drug Administration.) There are also strict withdrawal times for every medication, meaning that the farmer has to wait a certain amount of time after administering antibiotics to send the animal to market.
To ensure that the meat you eat is antibiotic-free, the US National Residue Program randomly tests treated animals for antibiotic residues before the flock goes to market. If an unsafe residue is found, the entire flock is held back until samples prove that the meat is safe.
So you can see, based on the steps American farmers take to use antibiotics correctly and the testing that is done to verify the meat is safe, there is no need to seek out “antibiotic-free” meat.
Because simply put, there are no antibiotics in meat.