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USA: Report on health threat from antibiotic overuse in livestock

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

Pointing out that every year more than two million people in the USA get infections resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a result, a new report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls for phasing out the routine use of antibiotics in industrial livestock production that has been linked to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The full report is available here.

“Up to half of antibiotic use in humans and much of antibiotic use in animals is unnecessary,” CDC declared, citing that the Food and Drug Administration in the USA (FDA) recently proposed guidance for using these drugs in food-producing animals only when medically necessary and targeting their use to only address diseases and health problems. “This report is confirmation of warnings issued years ago by scientists about the use of antibiotics in livestock and the development of resistant strains as a consequence of their use,” said Warren Porter, professor of zoology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and member of The Organic Center’s Science Advisory Board. He added, “The problem is all the more serious now because of emerging evidence of subtle immune suppression in the human population as evidenced by the rise of diseases related to reduced immune competence.”

“By choosing meat and dairy products bearing the organic label, consumers can avoid contributing to antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” said Jessica Shade, Ph.D., Director of Science Programs for The Organic Center. “Several studies have also found fewer antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria on organic foods. If you’re worried about dietary exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, choosing organic is a good idea.” She added, “Statistics released by FDA show that animal production uses over 29 million pounds of antibiotics annually. If everyone chose just one organic product out of every ten they purchased, we could eliminate over 2.5 million pounds of unnecessary antibiotic use each year. That could go a long way in reducing the development of antibiotic resistance.”


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