A study from the University of Maryland shows that giving antibiotics routinely to farm animals has caused most bacteria in meat to be resistant to antibiotics.

Salmonella is a bacteria that infects both animal and humans. It causes diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever and even death. Farm animals are often given antibiotics to prevent infections. These antibiotics kill susceptible bacteria, leaving in the animals only bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Then, resistant bacteria are transmitted to humans who eat the meat. Twenty percent of supermarket meats contained salmonella, with 84 percent of the salmonella resistant to at least one antibiotic, and 53 percent resistant to at least three. This can be prevented by making and enforcing strict laws that prevent farmers from routinely giving all animals antibiotics. You can protect yourself by cooking your meat well before you eat it.

The isolation of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella from retail ground meats. New England Journal of Medicine, 2001, Vol 345, Iss 16, pp 1147-1154. DG White, S Zhao, R Sudler, S Ayers, S Friedman, S Chen, PF McDermott, S McDermott, DD Wagner, JH Meng. Meng JH, Univ Maryland, Dept Nutr & Food Sci, College Pk,MD 20742

Checked 8/9/05

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