Warning: The wrong kind of poultry increases the risk of antibiotic resistant bacteria, according to new research

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chicken-bacteria(NaturalHealth365) The overuse of antibiotics within modern animal food production has become a serious health issue.  Conventionally speaking, food producers use antibiotics to (“hopefully”) avoid infections in their animals.  But, the result is quite unhealthy, as we see the rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Over time, the overuse of antibiotics in animals has resulted in the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in meats today, which means that if humans are infected with these bacteria, conventional drug treatments are much less likely to work at all.

However, new research has discovered that going organic may be the answer to this problem.  Organic poultry is only half as likely to contain antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to a new study.

Unwanted bacteria is significantly less within organic poultry

It’s important to note that Salmonella was found in both organic and conventionally raised poultry, so proper handling and cooking of poultry is critical for preventing Salmonella infection.

However, Salmonella infection becomes a more significant problem when bacteria become resistant to common antibiotics.  Generally speaking, people that have a suppressed immune system, are over the age of 50 or who have heart disease have a greater risk of severe Salmonella infections.  And, if the bacteria are antibiotic-resistant, treatments may not work when patients really need them for a severe infection.

Researchers discovered that 10% of conventional poultry samples – randomly purchased chicken and turkey – were contaminated with Salmonella, while only 5.3% of organic samples were contaminated.

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More than 50% of the contaminated conventional samples were resistant to at least three antibiotics, while only 28% of the organic samples contained bacteria that were resistant to antibiotics.  Therefore, according to study authors, these findings show how critical it is to use antibiotics judiciously, in both human medicine and food-producing animals.

Editor’s note: We, at NaturalHealth365, do not encourage the use of antibiotics.  But, in those situations – when they are really needed – it’s always better to have less exposure prior to needing treatment.  Hence, the importance of eating an organic diet and limiting your exposure to unwanted chemicals.

The case for stronger organic standards

While this study shows organic options to be a “safer” meat choice, there’s still work to be done to strengthen organic standards to reduce bacterial contamination and antibiotic-resistant bacteria further.

According to Beyond Pesticides, some poultry producers have certified organic status, yet they continue to operate under conditions that are close to those of conventional factory farms.  There’s a call to set universal minimum outdoor and indoor space requirements to improve the quality and safety of organic meat products.

Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that they believe it’s essential to limit the use of antibiotics, the majority of antibiotics used within the U.S. continue to be administered to our livestock.

In fact, it’s been estimated that, over 30 million pounds of antibiotics were used in cattle and poultry production.  Organic livestock production prohibits antibiotic use as a preventive measure or for growth promotion, and when animals must be treated with antibiotics medically, then this meat may no longer be labeled as organic.

The healthiest choice – make sure you know where your food is coming from, purchase locally, and ensure you go with meats and produce produced by organic standards.

Sources for this article include:

BeyondPesticides.org
IDSociety.org
NaturalHealth365.com