NY Times: Antibiotics in Animals Killing Us

Monday, 13 June 2011 09:19 AM

Despite the fact that every year 5,000 Americans die and 325,000 are hospitalized because of foodborne illness, the U.S. agriculture system lacks basic safety initiatives that would prevent the spread of bacteria like E.coli and the widespread use of antibiotics in healthy farm animals.

“Food kills one person every two hours” in America, columnist Nicholas D. Kristof writes in the New York Times.

“Yet while the terrorist attacks of 2001 led us to transform the way we approach national security, the deaths of almost twice as many people annually have still not generated basic food-safety initiatives,” he writes. “We have an industrial farming system that is a marvel for producing cheap food, but its lobbyists block initiatives to make food safer.”

Particularly alarming is information from the Food and Drug Administration that says 80 percent of the antibiotics in the country are for livestock, not humans. Healthy animals living in dirty, crowded conditions are fed 90 percent of the livestock antibiotics to prevent them from getting ill, he writes. The practice “creates a perfect breeding ground for antibiotic-resistant pathogens.”

“We need more comprehensive inspections in the food system, more testing for additional strains of E. coli, and more public education (always wash your hands after touching raw meat, and don’t use the same cutting board for meat and vegetables). A great place to start reforms would be by banning the feeding of antibiotics to healthy livestock.”

To read the complete New York Times column, Go Here Now.

© HealthDay

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Monday, 13 June 2011 09:19 AM
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