July 23, 2024

Answers to Questions About Antibiotic Resistance

Food & Water Watch has published a Q&A about antibiotic resistance. According to Food & Water Watch’s analysis, the CDC has found that more than 20% of antibiotic-resistant infections are linked to food. The ongoing Foster Farms chicken Salmonella outbreak is comprised of seven different strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which makes those infections hard to treat. The hospitalization rate in that outbreak is almost twice the normal number for a Salmonella outbreak.

Antibiotic PillsMore than 80% of the antibiotics sold in this country are used in agriculture, and not because animals are sick. Farmers use them so animals will gain weight and to prevent illness in poor conditions. No antibiotics should be given in small doses this way; the bacteria just become resistant to them. And that’s where the trouble starts. Superbugs get started on factory farms.

Even living near a factory farm can be trouble. Manure used as fertilizer on farm fields contain the antibiotic-resistant bacteria. And those bacteria can transfer the resistance to other bacteria, compounding the problem.

Follow good food safety practices to help reduce your risk of food poisoning from antibiotic-resistant bacteria. But individual action is not going to stop the problem. Take action today and contact your members of Congress to implement legislation to end the unnecessary use of antibiotics on factory farms.


  1. Scott Wright says

    Linda, while I appreciate the sentiment, there are numerous flaws in your statements. Farmers use antibiotics just as hospitals do, for threating the sick, not just as a production aid, and use has a production aid is in rapid decline across the animal species being produced. Superbugs get started wherever antibiotics are used and are more prevalent in hospitals than in food systems. Lets take a balanced, even a science-based approach to the information being provided….

    • Linda Larsen says

      These are not “my statements” – they are from Food & Water Watch. And I agree with their analysis, as does the World Health Organization, Johns Hopkins, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association, and all other prominent health and food safety organizations.

      Of course antibiotic resistance is a problem in hospitals. But ignoring the huge problem of the factory farm contribution to this issue is completely foolish. If farms aren’t a problem, please tell me where the four antibiotic-resistant strains of superbugs in the Foster Farms Salmonella outbreak came from. That ongoing outbreak has sickened more than 16,000 people. Those chickens weren’t raised in hospitals.

      Use of antibiotics as a production aid is very common in the factory farm industry. And the “science-based approach” sides with Food & Water Watch: antibiotic resistance can and does begin on the farm.

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