Federal Report Reveals Resistant Bacteria in Meat

Agribusiness’ rampant use of antibiotics used to keep farm animals alive has ushered in drug-resistant bacteria.


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In 2011 the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System collected hundreds of samples of ground turkey, pork chops, ground beef, other meats to test for antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The findings, which were published this February, reveal the presence of drug-resistant strands such as enterococcus, salmonella, and campylobacter in a plethora of meats. According to The New York Times, in 2002 less than 50 percent of the salmonella found in chicken was resistant, but in 2011, that number jumped to 74 percent. Some health professionals note that the animal industry’s cavalier use of the drugs for non-therapeutic reasons is the reason for the “super bugs.” “Feeding [the animals] antibiotics to make them get bigger faster at a lower cost poses a real problem for public health,” says Dawn Undurraga of the Environmental Work Group.

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