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...

A Plague of New Superbugs
And it’s not only MRSA. During studies that lasted from 2005 to 2012, Amee Manges, a researcher at McGill University, found that supermarket chicken in Ontario and Quebec carried E. coli bacteria that bore a close genetic relation to strains that caused stubborn, drug-resistant urinary tract infections in 350 women she examined in Montreal. In 2011, antibiotic-resistant Salmonella in ground turkey sold by Cargill sickened 136 consumers in 35 states, killing one. An examination of pork chops and ground pork published by Consumer Reports in 2012 showed that almost two-thirds of samples tested positive for resistant Yersinia enterocolitica, a bacterium that causes food poisoning. Some meat was also contaminated with drug-resistant Salmonella, Staphylococcus and Listeria. While cooking meat properly will kill bacteria, every year thousands of people are sickened by them, and for some (especially the very young, the very old and those with weak immune systems) the illnesses can be fatal.

“We are calling on retailers and grocery stores… to commit to stopping these practices and stocking only meat that was raised without feeding antibiotics to healthy animals,” Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at the Consumers Union, said in a statement accompanying the release of the report.

Next: Connection between Antibiotic Use and Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria? »

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