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Posted Tue Sep 27 2011: from Environmental Health News:
Organic farming reduces antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria were less common on chicken farms that had recently switched to organic farming practices when compared to those that continued to use conventional farming practices, finds a study of organic poultry farms in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The results are published online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. The results show that reducing nontherapeutic use of antibiotics also reduces antibiotic-resistant bacteria in chickens and their waste materials. It is one of the first to examine the changes on farms in the United States. The findings agree with prior studies from Europe and Asia that report similar results: less antibiotic use means fewer resistant bacteria in the animals and food products. In conventional chicken farming, antibiotic use goes beyond just treating sick chickens. The drugs are often added to feed to promote the growth of chickens living in crowded poultry houses. Antibiotics use increased during the 1990s and a large portion of that increase was due to these so-called nontherapeutic uses. However, this kind of overuse can increase antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the facilities. The bacteria can then spread to people by either direct contact with the animals, through the handling and eating of meat products and via manure spread on crops and farmland.
[Read more stories about: antibiotic resistance, corporate farming, food safety, health impacts, wisdom]
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