Life on the Pharm: Antibiotic Abuse Leads to Disconcerting Data at the Market
April 18th, 2013
The National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) has discovered shocking rates of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in meats found in supermarkets across the US.
In 2011, federal researchers tested 480 samples each of ground beef, ground turkey, pork chops, and chicken breasts, wings and thighs purchased in supermarkets around the country for antibiotic-resistant salmonella, campylobacter, E. coli, and Enterococcus. Results found antibiotic-resistant bacteria in 55% of ground beef, 81% of ground turkey, 69% of pork chops, and 39% of chicken breast, wings or thighs.
Even more disconcerting, 87% of all the meat collected by federal scientists was contaminated with both normal and antibiotic-resistant Enterococcus bacteria, suggesting that the meat most likely came in contact with fecal matter at some point.
NARMS attributes their findings to the rampant abuse of antibiotics in the meat industry. The evidence is quite clear: benefits that sparked the use of antibiotics have been far outweighed by the pursuit of industry. Competition has forced the farmers to play a game of numbers, and to use questionable methods in getting there. A little known fact about commonly used antibiotics on livestock operations: they cause a 3% overall weight gain, which mean big dollars for farmers. Simply put, the more meat, the better… with disastrous consequences.