Outbreaks of food borne illness are on the rise and most associated with the increase in contamination by bacteria making it's way into the food supply in greater occurrence and severity. This is a direct result of the dysfunctional food system in need of a major overhaul.
Livestock and poultry farmers use antibiotics to facilitate growth as well as to prevent and fight infections in the animals. An added side effect from the administration of synthetic hormones is that the resulting increase in infections and disease results in livestock farmers using increased levels of antibiotics to try to overcome the infections. This leaves a greater residue in the animal which subsequently can make its way down the food chain to you. These practices also don't kill all the bacteria thus exacerbating the development of drug resistant bacteria. This subsequently undermines the effectiveness of drugs used to combat infections in humans whereby putting people at higher risk of illness and death. To make things worse, many factory farms administer antibiotics as a function of their protocol using them on livestock even though they don’t have an infection.
Here are the simple facts:
1.) There is widespread use of human-use antibiotics in livestock production.
2.) Much of that use is routine and prolonged “subtherapeutic” dosing of animals with antibiotics such as penicillin and tetracycline to speed animal growth.
3.) That use causes food borne bacteria and other bacteria to become resistant to the same drugs used to treat bacterial infections in humans.
This situation has become so serious that even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged the FDA not to approve fluoroquinolones for treating flocks of poultry, but the FDA caved in to drug-industry pressure. As a result the predicted problem has occurred: Campylobacter, which causes food poisoning, is becoming resistant to fluoroquinolones. That will make it harder to treat those illnesses. Salmonella and E-coli contaminations are on the rise while treatment of these infections becomes more difficult. In fact the CDC- Center for Disease Control states that these infections caused problems in treating illnesses with increased rates of illness and death.
Things can be changed. Richard Young, a policy adviser for the Soil Association stated “We estimate that a move to less intensive, more health-oriented livestock farming, could reduce farm antibiotic use by up to 75%. This would help to safeguard the future effectiveness of critically important drugs, and over the coming years, save countless human lives". The University of Vermont has shown that natural pasture raising of dairy cows actually can reduce farm expenses increase revenues and increase production value of dairy cows. These are a few practices that would eliminate much of the need for antibiotic as well as hormone treatment practices making the food supply and environment much safer. How can you go wrong employing methodology that is safer, more financial lucrative, heals the environment, improves health of people and reduces risk of disease?
If you care to get involved, voice your concerns to the FDA commissioner: mailto:CVMHomeP@cvm.fda.gov Main Tel: (301) 827-2410
Center For Disease Control
Drug Resistant Staph Germ's Toll Higher Than Thought
Center For Science In The Public Interest
Fluoroquinolone Use in Food Animals