Antibiotic-resistant bacteria could be breeding in the meat you eat
Each year, 23,000 Americans die and 8 million are hospitalized as a result of antibiotic resistant infection, and it has nothing to do with prescription medication.
It might look good but what’s added to beef, pork and poultry has the attention of the CDC and hospitals all over the U.S.
“Well, 80 percent of the antibiotics used in this country are used in animal agriculture,” says Amy Collins, senior clinical advisor for Health Care Without Harm. “That’s 30 million pounds of antibiotics used every year to treat animals that aren’t even sick.”
Antibiotics are fed to livestock to prevent disease and promote growth. While it’s not a new practice, Collins says it’s time to stop.
“This practice of giving them low-dose antibiotics in their food on a daily basis is the perfect opportunity to breed antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” says Collins.
These antibiotic-resistant bacteria from meats can be passed on to humans, making once treatable conditions more problematic.
“There are many patients who are difficult to treat because they have resistance to antibiotics,” says Tom Wagstaff, director of nutrition and food services at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
Government tests of raw supermarket meat found antibiotic-resistant bacteria in 81 percent of ground turkey, 69 percent of pork chops, 55 percent of ground beef and 39 percent of chicken.
Spearheaded by Health Care Without Harm, hospitals around the U.S. like Spaulding Rehabilitation are now serving meat antibiotic-free.
“In the long run, it is far more efficient in healthcare to purchase antibiotic-free meat than it is to have patients stay longer in hospitals,” says Wagstaff.
A practice they hope other hospitals, restaurants, and supermarkets will follow.
Experts recommend buying meat labeled USDA certified organic. Something to think about the next time you go to the grocery store.
Also, if you’re handling raw meat, make sure to wash your hands.