An Investigation of Antibiotic Residue in Non-Commercial Beef in Southwest Missouri

Date of Graduation

Spring 2002


Master of Science in Health Promotion and Wellness Management


Public Health and Sports Medicine

Committee Chair

Janice Young


Antibiotic resistance is a major public health threat. A public health fear is that drug-resistant bacteria could develop that are resistant to all known antibiotics and the diseases they cause might be incurable. The CDC policy advises taking antibiotics only when absolutely necessary and only in the prescribed manner. Abuse and/or overuse of antibiotics in animals contributes to the threat of making antibiotics ineffective for human use. The hypothesis was that the proportion of non-commercial beef containing antibiotic residue in southwest Missouri is greater than the 0.2% found in commercial beef. The USDA must inspect all commercially available beef. Non-commerical beef is not tested for food safety by any organization. It is possible that the non-commercial beef operators could be administering excessive amounts of antibiotics to their animals, keeping few or no medical records, and consuming meat from an animal in which the withdrawal period from antibiotics was not observed. This research study investigated the percentage of beef butchered for non-commercial use in southwest Missouri that contained antibiotic residue. The study tested one kidney from each of 199 cattle butchered for non-commercial use at five local meat-processing plants with the USDA S.T.OP. test, a simple but highly sensitive test for antibiotic residue left in animal tissue. No antibiotic residue was found in the 199 kidneys. Findings are consistent with the USDA FSIS findings for commercial meat and demonstrate that farmers and residents of southwest Missouri are consuming antibiotic-free meat, processed during October through December 2000.

Subject Categories

Health and Medical Administration


© Deanna Thompson