Fewer Antibiotics Make For Safer Meats

Australia's restrictions on antibiotic use in food animals could be connected to lower levels of drug-resistant bacteria in humans.

Australia has prohibited the used of certain antibiotics, called fluoroquinolones, in all food animals. Use of these antibiotics is standard in many other industrialized nations. Researchers examined the effects of these policies on Campylobacter jejuni, a leading bacterial cause of food-borne illness that has exhibited drug-resistant strains.

Campylobacter isolates were collected from almost 600 patients in five Australian states. Only 2 percent were resistant to ciprofloxacin, a type of fluoroquinolone. In countries that allow fluoroquinolone use in animals, the prevalence of drug resistance can be as high as 29 percent.

Other countries, such as Sweden and Norway, that prohibit the use of fluoroquinolones for food animals have also reported low incidences of fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter. The U.S. FDA first proposed a ban on fluoroquinolones in poultry in 2000, but resistance from drugmakers resulted in the ban not being enacted until September 2005.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Another great reason you should avoid eating meats from conventional livestock sources -- that typically come with their own health-harming array of antibiotics -- comes from this new study conducted Down Under.

This study is especially important because of a fact most people, including physicians, are unaware of: About 70 percent of the antibiotics used are in agriculture.

In the United States, even though the FDA finally banned the use of fluoroquinolones in poultry last year, that doesn't mean eating conventionally grown American fowl is a healthier choice yet, considering most are still fed pesticide-laden feed. And other forms of U.S. livestock are still being pumped full of antibiotics daily.

I already had great respect for the meat produced in Australia and New Zealand as, from as far as I can tell, nearly all their livestock are exclusively grass-fed and avoid the typical U.S. factory farming catastrophes.

This article is especially helpful to review as it documents in great detail how cattle are force-fed grain the last few months of their life to fatten them up. The cattle living conditions are less than ideal and in the process they are given antibiotics, hormones and other chemicals to maximize their growth, all of which can wind up being transferred to you when you eat the meat.

Because of this it would be best for you to avoid most commercial meats whenever possible. Commercial beef, for example, usually comes from grain-fed cattle (which is less healthy for you than grass-fed cattle), and is chock full of these hormones, antibiotics and preservatives.

I highly recommend that you buy organic meat in lieu of the factory-farmed meat found in most supermarkets. The health benefits are well worth the extra effort to find it. Your best bet: Find a local source from a farmer. We have some vendors in our store, but you can eliminate the shipping charges if you can find a trusted local vendor.

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