Friday, April 30, 2010

Meat as Source of Antibiotic Resistance

In a Congressional hearing on Wednesday, Drs. Freiden and Fauci, from the CDC and NIH, reported that 90,000 Americans die each year due to resistant bacteria. A large amount of debate in the session concerned whether antibiotic use in agriculture contributed to this problem. (Antibiotics are mostly used in agriculture to promote growth in healthy animals, and not to treat infections.) The Doctors said they could not cite particular evidence from the US that linked the use to human sickness. (One of the Republicans asked specifically for US research, implying that research for Europe is not valid.) It is a shame that they did not directly cite the Institute of Medicine Report:
Microbial Threats to Health: Emergence, Detection, and Response
which shows that antibiotic resistant bacteria were found in multiple foods in the supermarket. The report concluded that the resistance does transmit foods ingested by humans. It is virtually impossible to see if a specific person's bacteria is linked to an animal getting an antibiotic. But, it appears that since the ban of antibiotics in Europe, antibiotic resistance has decreased, which is definitely a good thing.
It appears although multiple scientific groups are advocating the ban of antibiotics, Congressional action will be hampered by the lobbyists from Big Farma and Big Pharma. the best thing you can do to act personally is not eat mean/poultry that contains antibiotics. It is safe to assume, that unless mean is labeled in this way, it has antibiotics. So eat antibiotic-free foods, and you may save the life of your child, mother, or other loved one, including yourself.
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