Studies have sourced many antibiotic resistant bacteria to farm animals who are given a daily dose of antibiotics—and now a change in FDA guidelines will finally help stem the source of what is increasingly becoming a common, and deadly, problem.
The new guideline allows farmers to continue to use antibiotics to treat sick livestock, but requires that they get a veterinarian to sign off on the need first. In Europe where similar practices are already in place, farms tested had fewer antibiotic resistant bacteria present.
Until the new guidelines become widespread, raw meat can still be a source of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the kitchen. Follow proper food safety—washing hands and surfaces after handling raw meat and cooking it to a safe temperature—to help prevent illness.
Unfortunately, it’s not impossible that there will be those who abuse the system—using sick animals to get antibiotics for others and potentially keeping those animals ill to perpetuate the system of overusing antibiotics, so it’s important that those concerned about antibiotic resistant bacteria (and meat quality) continue to vote with their dollar. Scandals in cattle raising have lead to better awareness and a more open view into small local farms’ practices—it’s become fairly easy to google your favorite brand to see what you’re really getting.
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