Antibiotics in Your Food: What's Causing the Rise in Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in Our Food Supply and Why You Should Buy Antibiotic-Free Food

By Barry Estabrook, "Growing Resistance," May/June 2013

As the use of antibiotics in farming and raising livestock has increased, new antibiotic resistant bacteria, or "superbugs" are emerging. Here's what you need to know about antibiotics in your food and eating antibiotic-free food.

"To suggest that there is only "one real solution" is a rather limited point of view. Perhaps that solution is the only one for you, but that does not make it ipso facto for everyone. I am a omnivore, eat meat sparingly and when I do I...

Hog Heaven, Hog Hell
If there is a ground zero for the abuse of antibiotics in the United States, it’s probably Iowa, where hogs outnumber humans seven to one. During the 90-minute drive up I-35 from Des Moines to visit one farm, I was rarely out of sight of rows of long, low barns—each home to at least 2,000 pigs confined shoulder-to-shoulder in pens—known as CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations). In 2009, Tara Smith, Ph.D., a researcher at the University of Iowa, published a study that found that nearly half of the hogs at two large Iowa farms carried MRSA. More worrisome, 45 percent of the workers at those farms harbored the bacteria.

A study published in 2011 by the Translational Genomics Research Institute showed that MRSA was finding its way into our meats. Researchers analyzed 136 samples of beef, poultry and pork from 36 supermarkets in California, Illinois, Florida, Arizona and Washington, D.C. Nearly one-quarter of the samples tested positive for MRSA.

Next: A Plague of New Superbugs »

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