Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Antibiotic use in agriculture can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria and those bacteria can infect humans.  A new study gave me chance to dig into the issue for the Los Angeles Times.

The study found that the meat you buy at the grocery store is as likely as not to be contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, according to researchers who sampled 26 grocery stores in five US cities.  Yep, that’s a 50-50 chance.  Worse, the staph is likely to be resistant to at least one antibiotic drug. 

Farmers who raise food animals can buy feed with antibiotics in them -- the same drugs (or close enough) that are used as medicines in people.  It’s perfectly legal and easy -- no veterinarian to sign off, just money to buy the food.  A whole host of big name organizations -- the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Medical Association to name a few -- condemn this practice and yet it continues.

Photo credit: jon smith photography via Flickr Creative Commons

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