From Dr. Mercola:
Antibiotic resistance has been declared “an increasingly serious threat to global public health that requires action across all government sectors and society” by the World Health Organization (WHO).1
The cause for this growing drug resistance was once thought to be restricted to overuse of antibiotics in medicine, but it’s become quite clear that our food supply significantly contributes to the problem.
In fact, it may even be the overriding factor that has allowed, and continues to allow, resistance to grow and spread at the rate that it is.
In the US, animals raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are routinely fed low doses of antibiotics to make them grow fatter, faster, and to prevent disease associated with crowded and unsanitary living conditions.
The US uses nearly 30 million pounds of antibiotics each year to raise food animals.2,3 This accounts for about 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the US,4 and nearly 70 percent of these antibiotics are considered “medically important” for humans.5
Globally, antibiotic use in both medicine and agriculture rose by 30 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to newly released data from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics, and Policy.6
Along with it, antibiotic resistance has shot up as well. On a positive note, in countries that have implemented regulations to curb the use of antibiotics, certain drug resistant infections have dramatically dropped.
No matter where you live, what farmers are saving on the front end by using antibiotics instead of costlier alternatives (such as using essential oils,7 and feeding them a higher quality species-appropriate diet), consumers pay for on the back end, via exorbitant health care costs and lives cut short.
In the US alone, the price tag for antibiotic resistance is $20 billion in additional annual health care costs,8 and an estimated 23,000 Americans die from antibiotic-resistant infections each year.
Fast Food Restaurants Show Few Signs of Change
Efforts have been made to curtail the use of antibiotics in meat production, but so far, the industry is falling far short of making a dent in the situation.
According to a new report9,10,11 “Chain Reaction: How Restaurants Rate on Reducing the Use of Antibiotics in Their Meat Supply,” produced by six consumer interest, public health, and environmental organizations, most fast food restaurants are still serving meat and poultry raised on antibiotics.
Most also lack a publicly available policy to limit the use of such meats. Of the 25 restaurant chains included in the report, the following 20 received a “Failing” score:
Subway Starbucks KFC Domino’s Pizza Wendy’s Burger King Denny’s Olive Garden Papa John’s Taco Bell Pizza Hut Applebee’s Sonic Chili’s Jack in the Box Arby’s Dairy Queen IHOP Outback Little Caesars Only Two Fast Food Restaurants Earned an ‘A’ Grade
Chipotle’s and Panera Bread both earned “A” ratings. According to the report, they are the only two fast food restaurants that publicly affirm the majority of the meats served come from antibiotic-free producers.