“The Meat Industry Now Consumes Four-Fifths of All Antibiotics” -Mother Jones

Image by Shuttercock Source: Mother Jones

Tom Philpott writes for Mother Jones that despite the FDA’s, “Proposed set of voluntary ‘guidelines’ designed to nudge the meat industry to curb its antibiotic habit,” the meat industry continues, “Gorging away on antibiotics.”

He is commenting on the latest FDA data about the use of antibiotics in the meat industry and the rise in “antibiotic-resistant pathogens”.  Philpott writes:

“The Pew Charitable Trusts crunched the agency’s numbers on antibiotic use on livestock farms and compared them to data on human use of antibiotics to treat illness, and mashed it all into an infographic, which I’ve excerpted below. Note that that while human antibiotic use has leveled off at below 8 billion pounds annually, livestock farms have been sucking in more and more of the drugs each year—and consumption reached a record nearly 29.9 billion pounds in 2011.”

Pew Charitable Trusts Graphic

Philpott writes:

Not surprisingly, when you cram animals together by the thousands and dose them daily with antibiotics, the bacteria that live on and in the animals adapt and develop resistance to those bacteria killers.”

Here are some bullet points by Pew Trust that have been highlighted in the Mother Jones article:

• Of the Salmonella on ground turkey, about 78% were resistant to at least one antibiotic and half of the bacteria were resistant to three or more. These figures are up compared to 2010. 

• Nearly three-quarters of the Salmonella found on retail chicken breast were resistant to at least one antibiotic. About 12% of retail chicken breast and ground turkey samples were contaminated with Salmonella.

• Resistance to tetracycline [an antibiotic] is up among Campylobacter on retail chicken. About 95% of chicken products were contaminated with Campylobacter, and nearly half of those bacteria were resistant to tetracyclines. This reflects an increase over last year and 2002.

 

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