Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria on Conventional Turkey

When discussing natural foods, the topic of meat regularly comes up. Just recently, someone suggested to me that meat that comes from animals raised without antibiotics is disgusting because it’s somehow “dirtier” than meat that comes from animals who were given antibiotics.  The idea presented to me was:  Farmers who routinely administer antibiotics to their animals will produce meat less likely to have bacteria on it.

That idea is false.

In reality, all animals will have bacteria, but animals who are not routinely given antibiotics will have much less dangerous bacteria than their counterparts who were given prophylactic antibiotics. Since all animals have bacteria on them, there’s a large risk of all meat products also having bacteria on it. Mother Earth News reported that according to a Consumer Reports investigation, around 90 of all meat tested had some degree of contamination from dangerous bacteria on it.

Yet, animals who were raised without antibiotics, had less of the more dangerous, drug-resistant bacteria.

It’s past time people started paying attention.

It’s been over a year since the director-general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, gave a sobering Keynote address about the imperative nature of combating antibiotic resistant bacteria by using less antibiotics.  She said that we were already entering a post-antibiotic era. She said that overuse of antibiotics especially among healthy animals bred for food, has created an awful situation. “Worldwide, the fact that greater quantities of antibiotics are used in healthy animals than in unhealthy humans is a cause for great concern.”

Giving antibiotics to animals bred for food as a preventative for food-borne illnesses, will simply not prevent food-borne illnesses. It will just make them harder to treat.


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