Eco-Living Magazine

Antibiotics in Our Food

Posted on the 03 May 2013 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev

One thing that scares me about our food system is the use of antibiotics.  It scares me because it seems to be causing problems that weren’t originally foreseen, such as superbugs and resistance to antibiotics.  This is along the same lines as superweeds.  We are using drugs and pesticides to increase production without thinking about the negative outcomes, such as health issues for consumers.

 Antibiotic use is out of control.  While they were created with good intentions and still serve very useful means, they are also being used in many unnecessary agricultural practices.  This is a problem because it is causing the following issues:

  • “Most antibiotics in the United States are used as growth promoters for raising meat animals, not as treatment for infections in animals or people.

  • Frequent use of antibiotics selects for and promotes the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

  • Infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria are difficult to treat, and sometimes very difficult to treat.” Source

Using antibiotics as a means of growth or any other use besides infection is not a good idea.  This is why superbugs or antibiotic resistant bacteria is forming.  If we use it in every possible way of course bacteria will become resistant.  This happens in humans as well.  If you are sick often and keep going to the doctor for antibiotics, then your body becomes resistant.  This is especially true when you are just going in for a routine cold or not finishing the entire antibiotic dosage.  You then have to try a new antibiotic medication, but there are only so many types of antibiotics out there and certain ones are better for certain illnesses.  Eventually you will run out of options.

Consumers are starting to question these practices, but the FDA is not protecting the consumers.  As usual they are protecting the meat industry and drug industry.  The most current battle is from report that was done on supermarket meat.  As it turns out supermarket meat is swimming in antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  The report stated that store-bought meat tested in 2011 contained antibiotic-resistant bacteria in 81 percent of raw ground turkey, 69 percent of raw pork chops, 55 percent of raw ground beef and 39 percent of raw chicken parts”.  To me these numbers are staggering.  I also think it is a public health issue, we as consumers need to know about this.  We need to know what is in our food and what dangers could be ahead of us from eating meat with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  This goes for using antibiotics in fruits as well.

To me learning about this report proves that we need to change how the meat industry is currently run.  Making conditions so poor that antibiotics are needed on a regular basis does not mean we should use them or up the usage.  It means we need to change the system, from CAFOs to smaller grass fed/ free range herds.  This may also mean we as a society need to reduce our meat consumption, but that is something I have been saying for a while.

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