A recent report by the federal government on supermarket ground turkey, pork chops and ground beef gives backbone to the argument against unnecessarily treating animals with antibiotics.
Scientists found more than half of the meat samples tested contained a bacteria resistant to antibiotics, reported The New York Times. The data was collected in 2011 by the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, a program of the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Agriculture Department.
“We don’t have a problem with treating animals with antibiotics when they are sick,” said Dawn Undurraga, the nutritionist for the group, a health research and advocacy organization. “But just feeding them antibiotics to make them get bigger faster at a lower cost poses a real problem for public health.”
U.S. and European public health officials have started warning that the consumption of meat containing antibiotics contributes to resistance in humans, and increased public awareness has lead to a surge in sales of antibiotic-free meat.
In other news, a study reveals the relative health benefits of eating organic versus conventionally grown foods, repoted the Times. The report, “Organically Grown Food Provides Health Benefits to Drosophila melanogaster,” is surprisingly the work of a Dallas middle school student, Ria Chhabra. An impressed professor at Southerm Methodist University, Dr. Johannes Bauer, assited her research. After Chhabra found higher concentrations of vitamin C in organic foods, she decided to measure their benefits on fruitflies—a species often used in research because their short life span can be translated to help understand the long-term, biological processes in humans.
The results: "By nearly every measure, including fertility, stress resistance and longevity, flies that fed on organic bananas and potatoes fared better than those who dined on conventionally raised produce," the Times reported.
Dr. Bauer encouraged Chhabra to pursue publication in a scientific journal. Her findings were printed in the journal PLOS ONE with Dr. Bauer as a co-author.