Pork, Poultry Linked to Antibiotic-Resistant Infections

May 25, 2008 10:05 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
New research suggests that a diet high in pork and poultry can make women susceptible to antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections.

30-Second Summary

Livestock in America are routinely given antibiotics to treat and prevent illness, and sometimes to enhance their growth. Now scientists have found evidence that might link the drugs given to farm animals to human infections.

Farmers have to stop giving an animal antibiotics for a certain period of time before it is slaughtered, and it is rare for meat to contain these medications in excessive amounts, according to the International Food Information Council.

Nonetheless, groups such as the Union of Concerned Scientists fear that the bacteria in livestock will develop a resistance to even small doses of the drugs. According to the union’s Web site, this scenario poses a “serious danger” to the effectiveness of the antibiotics prescribed to people.

If a person consumes pork with a strain of resistant bacteria and becomes ill, it is theoretically possible that treatment could be much more difficult.

A study recently published in the journal Foodborne Pathogens and Disease analyzed the dietary habits of nearly 100 women. Those who reported consuming more alcohol, pork and chicken tended to experience more antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections.

Barry Estabrook at Gourmet Magazine urges people to eat only meat and poultry that carry the U.S. Department of Agriculture organic seal or are labeled “no antibiotics added.”

McDonalds tried to limit the use of antibiotics a few years ago by prohibiting its direct suppliers around the world from using them for weight gain.

However, the problem isn’t just with agriculture. Many agree that antibiotics are over-prescribed and improperly used.

Headline Link: ‘Politics of the Plate: Drugs, Superbugs, and Good Trans Fats’

Reference: 'Retail Meat Consumption and the Acquisition of Antimicrobial Resistant Escherichia coli Causing Urinary Tract Infections’

Background: Effect of antibiotics in food supply questioned

Related Topic: McDonalds reduces antibiotics in meat


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