Superbugs in Conventional vs. Organic Chicken


one of the most concerning developments in medicine is the emergence of bacterial super resistance resistance to not just one class of drugs like penicillin but resistance to multiple classes of drugs so-called multi drug-resistant bacteria in the 2013 FDA retail meat report more than a quarter of the Salmonella found contaminating retail chicken breasts were resistant to not one but five or more different classes of antibiotic treatment drugs throughout history there’s been a continual battle between humans and pathogens for the last half century that battle has taken the form of bugs versus drugs first we develop penicillin and the US Surgeon General declared the war against infectious diseases has been won however the euphoria over the potential conquest of infectious diseases was short-lived in response bacteria developed an enzyme that ate penicillin for breakfast literally an enzyme that breaks down penicillin penicillin aches in fact they can excrete large quantities at the enzyme some could destroy the drug before it even comes into contact okay so we developed a drug that blocks the penicillin leaving enzyme that’s why sometimes you see two drug names one is the antibiotic and the other is a drug that blocks the enzyme the bacteria uses to block the antibiotic but the bacteria outsmarted us again and so it goes back and forth however hard we try and have her clever we are there’s no question that organisms have been around for three billion years and been have adapted to survive under the most extreme conditions will always overcome whatever we decide to throw at them so we went from first generation antibiotics to second generation out-of-box to third generation antibiotics but now we have bacteria that evolved the capacity survive our big gun third-generation cephalosporins like ceftriaxone which is what we rely on to treat life-threatening Salmonella infections in children where are these super duper superbugs found almost 90% were isolated from chicken carcasses or retail chicken meat but what if we only eat no antibiotic added you know organic chicken a comparison of these multi drug-resistant bacteria in organic and conventional retail chicken meat the first such study ever published all of the conventional chicken samples were contaminated however the majority 84 percent of organic chicken meat samples were also contaminated so 100% vs. 84 percent organic it’s definitely better but odds are we’d still be buying something that could make our family sick but where do these antibiotic resistant bacteria come from if they’re not using antibiotics on organic farms a possible explanation is that the day-old chicks coming from the hatcheries are already infected before they arrive or they can become contaminated after they leave in the slaughter plant organic chickens and conventionally raised chickens are typically all slaughtered in the same slaughterhouses so there may be cross-contamination between carcasses and finally factory farms are dumping antibiotics antibiotic resistant bacteria Laden chicken manure out into the environment you can pick up antibiotic resistant genes right out of the soil around factory farms so even meat raised without antibiotics may be contaminated with multi drug-resistant bacteria in a cover story English Consumer Reports urged retailers to stop selling meat produced with antibiotics they noted some store employee confusion though maybe they were not so confused after all an assistant store manager at one grocery store when asked by a shopper for meats raised without antibiotics responded wait you mean like veggie burgers you you

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