Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs Again Linked to Use of Antibiotics in Conventional Meat Production

Photo Credit:  Steven Lilley Photo Credit: Steven Lilley

Another study has come out linking the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to the use of antibiotics in conventional meat-rearing operations. The research, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, focused on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in hog slaughtering and processing plants to look at how exposure was spread to plant workers, their household members, and community residents. Researchers found that plant workers were exposed to antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria at rates 2.5 times higher than typical community residents, likely due to the use of antibiotics in conventional animal rearing. This is a worrisome finding, because MRSA may be spread through plant workers or processed conventional meat to the public, contributing to the high number of infections and deaths caused by resistant bacterial strains. Remember that the only way to be certain that the meat you are eating was raised without antibiotics is to choose organic!