Katie Couric reports in the above video about how livestock antibiotics are causing more farm factory workers to become sick from antibiotic resistant viruses. Consumers might be at risk as well. Antibiotics are fed to livestock to promote growth and prevent disease, even when the livestock is well. Couric reveals that this practice is wide spread on many factory farms.
Workers have contracted methicillin resistant staph (MRSA), a virus which is resistant to many antibiotics.
A University of Iowa study last year, found a new strain of MRSA — in nearly three-quarters of hogs (70%), and nearly two-thirds of the workers (64%) — on several farms in Iowa and Western Illinois. All of them use antibiotics, routinely. On antibiotic-free farms no MRSA was found.
Worse yet, MRSA can be spread from farm to the consumer by simply eating tainted meat. Shelly Hearne, who has studied the health effects of factory farming for 25 years stated that “[i]f the bacteria becomes resistant to antibiotics, it can actually spread in many ways.”
She further states, “[i]t could be in the food supply, but it also can be in waters that runoff in a farm. It could be in the air. It can happen very quickly in many different ways. It’s why it’s a practice that has to stop on the farms.”
So, you might ask, who is watching the store? Obviously not the FDA.
Joshua Sharfstein, the deputy director of the FDA, states in the video:
“We want to put in place measures to reduce inappropriate use and we want to see that those are working – in order to do that we have to have a good surveillance system,” Sharfstein said. “There’s no question that needs to be improved.”
How do you know if your food is antibiotic free ? Check the label. It should say so.
For a transcription of majority of the video, see here.
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