A study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that most of our meat purchased at the grocery store contains antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The 2015 National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System tested bacteria for meat and found that they are resistant to one in fourteen antibiotics. These "superbugs" have been proven to:
- 79% ground turkey
- 62% ground beef
- 36% Chicken Breasts, Wings and Thighs tested
Dr. Gail Hansen, health expert and veterinarian, explains: "Bacteria transfer their antibiotic resistance genes to other bacteria they come into contact with in the environment and in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals, making effective treatment of infections very difficult." 19659004] The EEC gives a tip here to avoid superbears in meat.
What is a superbug?
A superbug is a pathogen, most commonly bacteria that can survive antibiotics, under which most species would bulge. The resistance can be caused by a variety of factors. Maybe it has a mutation that makes it stronger. Maybe it shields the genetic material from the poisonous medicine. Maybe it's luck. Shortly after surviving the antibiotic attack, it divides to multiply and form more bacteria. If these progeny bacteria retain the same genetic material as their parent or, if included, mutation, they may now also be resistant to the antibiotics.
According to CDC: Every year, at least 2 million people in the United States become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections.
Why do superbugs grow on our food?
One theory is that we give farm animals antibiotics to keep them healthy, prevent diseases and improve their growth. These antibiotics can be used and consumed so frequently that bacteria learn to overcome new, resilient offspring and create new ones.