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Antibiotics in my Food?

Should you be worried about the antibiotics used in livestock? The simple answer is yes, but what can you do to limit your exposure to them short of preparing only vegetarian or vegan meals for yourself and your family? It might cost more out of pocket upfront, but the case for eating organically raised, certified drug-free meat and animal products is pretty strong.

In 2011, fully 80 percent of antibiotics sold in the United States went to livestock. And when that meat hits your plate, you’re going to be ingesting some antibiotics along with your steak. Your body develops resistance to those drugs, so when you get sick and need to take antibiotics to get better, they are less likely to work.

If that’s not gross or scary enough to make you concerned, consider this: Staph infections from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) kills more Americans than HIV/AIDs, Parkinson’s, homicide, and emphysema combined. Up to 81 percent of ground turkey is likely to contain antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Superbug versions of E-coli and salmonella affect millions of Americans every year.

If infections from organisms like those are the worst-case scenario, your health can be seriously compromised by antibiotics messing with your normal gut microbia, which are critical for your overall health. Information about this and more specifics on antibiotics in food is not always easy to come by, however. Despite former FDA Commissioner David A. Kessler’s article in the New York Times this past spring in which he declared “we have more than enough scientific evidence to justify curbing the rampant use of antibiotics for livestock,” the food and drug industries are not only fighting legislation that would limit antibiotic use in livestock, but are trying to prevent data collection about it and its impact on health. Worse yet, the FDA is on their side, says Kessler. How safe do you feel now?

Read the entire article here: Antibiotics and Superbugs in Your Food?