Health News: Antibiotic Use in Food Source Animals linked to Antibiotic-Resistant Infections

Antibiotics and Hormones in our food source meat. Not good for people or pets. Photo: Turumo Medical

We found this interesting article in the Chicago Tribune on line.   We have heard of  more and more people acquiring antibiotic-resistant infections such as MRSA and C-Def. We thought this was a good article to increase awareness.  We think what holds true for people, holds true for pets as well.  With the increase rate of cancer and other illnesses in pets, this is interesting reading.

From the Chicago Tribune

“From animals to humans

Answers to some common questions on antibiotic resistance and agriculture from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Q. Why are bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics?

A. Antibiotics kill or inhibit the growth of susceptible bacteria. Sometimes one of the bacteria survives because it has the ability to neutralize or evade the effect of the antibiotic; that bacterium can then multiply and replace all the bacteria that were killed off. Exposure to antibiotics therefore provides selective pressure, which makes the surviving bacteria more likely to be resistant.

Q. How does antibiotic use in animals differ from use in humans?

A. In humans, antibiotics are usually used to treat sick individuals. Sick animals are sometimes treated individually, but often whole flocks or herds of animals are treated at once, including animals that are not ill. In humans, antibiotics are not given to promote growth, yet this is a major reason for using antibiotics in animals.

Q. Which antibiotics used in food-producing animals are related to antibiotics used in humans?

A. The majority of antibiotics used in food animals belong to classes of antibiotics that are also used to treat human illness; these include tetracyclines, sulfonamides, penicillins, macrolides, fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins, aminoglycosides, chloramphenicols and streptogramins. Bacteria resistant to antibiotics used in animals will also be resistant to similar antibiotics used in humans. When an ill person is treated with an antibiotic to which the bacteria is resistant, the antibiotic will not help and may even make the illness worse.”

The Article

The evening’s menu featured grass-fed, antibiotic-free beef over pasta, fresh seasonal vegetables and fresh organic peaches — items right at home in the city’s finest restaurants.

Instead, the dishes were prepared for visitors, staff and bed-bound patients at Swedish Covenant Hospital.

The Northwest Side hospital is one of 300 across the nation that have pledged to improve the quality and sustainability of the food they serve, not just for the health of their patients but, they say, the health of the environment and the U.S. population.

For many of these institutions, the initiative includes buying antibiotic-free meats. Administrators say they hope increased demand for those products will reduce the use of antibiotics to treat cattle and other animals, which scientists believe helps pathogens become more resistant to drugs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that antibiotic-resistant infections kill 60,000 Americans a year.

Although the U.S. doesn’t keep national records on antibiotic use in animals, the Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that up to 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the U.S. are administered to healthy animals to speed growth and compensate for crowded living conditions. Some of these drugs, such as penicillin and tetracycline, are also used to treat sick people.

Last week, as a congressional panel debated the nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in agriculture, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., presented a petition organized by the nonprofit coalition Health Care Without Harm and signed by more than 1,000 health care professionals supporting the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act. Introduced by Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., it would phase out the nontherapeutic use in animals of seven types of medically important antibiotics.

Last month the Food and Drug Administration also released draft guidelines for the “judicious use” of antibiotics for growth promotion in animals. The CDC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture support the FDA’s guidance, which states that “using medically important antimicrobial drugs for production or growth enhancing purposes … in food-producing animals is not in the interest of protecting and promoting the public health.”

Meat producers respond that there is not enough evidence to definitively link human antibacterial-resistant infection to animal use.

“The CDC, FDA and USDA all say that they believe there is a link, but we don’t know,” said Dave Warner, spokesman for the National Pork Producers Council. “They believe it, so they are going to ban these products because of a belief and not a scientific fact?”

Hospital administrators who have signed on to buy antibiotic-free meat say they hope to use their purchasing power to discourage the use of antibiotics in agriculture. According to the Association for Healthcare Foodservice, the institutions spend about $9.6 billion on food and drink a year.

An early adopter of healthier hospital menus, Swedish Covenant’s director of nutrition, Maria Simmons, started serving grass-fed antibiotic- and hormone-free Tallgrass beef nearly five years ago. While the hospital’s purchases of other sustainable foods have fluctuated with budgets and availability, this item has been a constant.”

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Posted by on Aug 1 2010. Filed under Animal Reality, Cat News, Dog News, Dog News, Pet Health, Pet News, Pet Nutrition, Pet Safety, You are a "Cat Person". You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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1 Comment for “Health News: Antibiotic Use in Food Source Animals linked to Antibiotic-Resistant Infections”

  1. […] hides. For more information about anti-biotics and hormones in food source meat, please read this article posted on our blog yesterday and watch TPPC.tv Show 27 where we discuss the movement to natural pet food and snack […]

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