Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
Jun 20, 2012 07:13 AM

Consumer Reports on antibiotics in food production

Urvashi Rangan, director of Consumer Safety at Consumer Reports - an independent product-testing organization - explained the primary issue at hand is the use of antibiotics in animal production. She said the misuse of antibiotics is leading to a "public health crisis."

"We use actually 80 percent of the antibiotics we produce in this country every year on animal production," Rangan said on "CBS This Morning." "... Bacteria are becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics, making it harder to treat diseases in people. ... You should use antibiotics for treating diseases, but do you need to feed it to healthy animals every day to promote growth and prevent disease - we don't think so."

Now that all the chickens have come home to roost, I hope strong regulation is put in place. I recall reading about this impending crisis in the NYT on 1985... it's not like it was difficult to foresee and allowed to happen anyway.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Sadly, I have the feeling that Big Ag will get whatever it wants, and taking antibiotics out of the food supply is not on that list.

    1. IMO this is the number one issue in food safety in this country. By a long shot. It is nearly insane that the media and government pay so little attention to it. A small string of food poisoning gets national coverage and immediate legislative response, while an entire industry on a massive scale undermining what's arguably the single greatest human advancement of the last 100 years gets the 'who cares' treatment.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cowboyardee

        It IS insane. It's like we set the "self destruct" button and no one thinks it's urgent.

      2. It makes me so angry I could throw things -- when our children are sick, we can't give them antibiotics. Why? Because we gave all the antibiotics to the pigs and cows.

        How completely fucked up is THAT? (and yes, I know about viruses...I'm talking about bacterial infections)

        1 Reply
        1. re: sunshine842

          It's even more effed up than that; we spray streptoymycin and other abx on to produce, too. You just couldn't make this stuff up.

          I say take drugs away from agribusiness before withholding them from sick people, the ones who need them.

        2. we've probably already passed the point of no return as far as regulating the mega companies behind most of the country's food production -- they have huge resources to fight it, and as those who've watched "Food Inc." know, they have their own highly placed people in government, including 'Just-us' Thomas on the Supreme Court.

          people have control over what food they purchase to consume. cutting out not just fast food, but also eating out at chain restaurants that depend exclusively on factory raised meats is a good place to start. it's expensive to eat organic meat, but many people in this country could benefit from reducing overall meat consumption, and organic chicken doesn't cost more than many cuts of the factory raised meats that people consume regularly.

          4 Replies
          1. re: moto

            Choosing what foods to consume on a personal level does nothing to prevent the development of super resistant pathogens in the environment.

            1. re: mcf

              I'm allergic to many antibiotics, including the Cipro they feed to chickens. As a result, I have to eat organic free range chicken. Yes, it is more expensive (same for turkey) but I think it tastes better. Maybe I'm just rationalizing, but others seem to agree when they eat poultry at my house.
              The mutation of the super bugs is very worrisome! I had MRSA several years ago and it was taken care of with vancomycin, an antibiotic that's held in reserve specifically for MRSA. Now there are vancomycin resistant strains of MRSA out there. We definitely need to stop feeding all our drugs to the animals, and we also need to do a lot of R&D in antibiotics.

              1. re: mcf

                I thought the super germs were coming about due to all the antibiotics being used on the almost literally manure swimming factory cows.