cute lambs in springThere has been growing concern about the increasing amounts of  drug-resistant bacteria endangering both animals and humans. As a response to this problem, many countries in the European Union as well as Canada, have banned the use of sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics in any meat destined for human consumption. In the United States, however, such misuse of antibiotics is still legal.

To avoid catastrophe, the World Health Organization is proposing discontinuation of antibiotics in cattle. In a recent report the WHO has determined that in order to protect human health, the overuse of antibiotics in feed needs to be avoided. Specifically, the WHO recommended that prescriptions be required for all antibiotics when there is need to treat a sick animal. Moreover, antibiotics used solely for growth promotion must never be used, particularly if these are medications routinely used in human treatment.

This is a far reaching problem, as the WHO’s first global report on antibiotic resistance clearly states. It includes data from 114 countries, and it concludes that superbugs are now able to evade even the hardest-hitting antibiotics (carbapenems) due in part to human overexposure to antibiotics in the food supply.

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The stats are frightening: MRSA alone (probably the best known superbug to date) is estimated to kill around 19,000 people every year in the United States. The current drugs are already ineffective in roughly half of the patients.

Read about the dangers of antibiotics in the food supply and understand more about the importance of selecting meat free of these and many other unnecessary pharmaceuticals.