Antibiotics Used in Livestock

Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 02:02 PM PDT
Antibiotics used in livestock: Making us even sicker than we thought
by VL BakerFollow

Campylobacter Bacteria


For decades, livestock producers have used low doses of antibiotics to expedite animal growth. The practice lowers feed costs while increasing meat production, and nearly 80 percent (you read that right!) of the antibiotics used in the United States are for this purpose. The evidence that low dose use of antibiotics in livestock encourages the growth of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” such as MRSA becomes stronger everyday. For that reason it’s banned in many countries, but remains common in the U.S. Although prophylactic antibiotic use in livestock has been in use since the 1950s, how it works has long been a mystery. But evidence is mounting that it might be due to antibiotics killing microorganisms that populate animals’ guts.

If so, antibiotics could do the same thing to humans. In support of this idea, a paper published last month in Nature, identifies a correlation between diversity of gut microflora and human obesity. A nine-year study, led by Dr. S. Dusko Ehrlich of France’s National Institute for Agricultural Research, compared microbiotas–the 100-trillion-member microbial ecosystems that populate the body–of slim and obese people.

The team found obese people have lower microbial diversity in their bellies. This is consistent with earlier research in mice, as well as a paper published last year in Journal of Obesity that found a strong correlation between young children’s exposure to antibiotics and later obesity.

Perhaps more significantly, the team behind the Nature study found a correlation between low microbial diversity and heart disease, diabetes and cancer, regardless of weight. “Even lean people who are poor in bacterial species have a higher risk of developing these pathologies,” Ehrlich told NPR.

All this supports the ideas that eating a poor diet or taking lots of antibiotics may be factors in the obesity epidemic and associated health problems, in part, because of the way they affect our gut microbes, Ehrlich says.

Originally posted to beach babe in fl on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 02:02 PM PDT.
Also republished by DK GreenRoots, Meatless Advocates Meetup, and Daily Kos.

Antibiotics & Severe Liver Damage

Posted on:  Saturday, August 18th 2012 at 5:00 am

Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics Linked To Severe Liver Damage

In a nine-year population study, Canadian researchers have determined that at least two fluoroquinolone-based antibiotics – commonly given to patients with respiratory infections, diarrhea, conjunctivitis and other infections — cause acute liver damage.

The research comes from Toronto’s Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, the University of Toronto, and the Ontario Departments of Medicine and Healthy Policy, Management and Evaluation. The research team was led by David N. Juurlink, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of clinical pharmacology at the University of Toronto and a leading liver disease researcher.

The researchers analyzed liver injury cases for different antibiotics over nine years in a hospital population from Ontario. The antibiotics studied included moxifloxacin, levofloxacin, cefuroxime axetil and ciprofloxacin. They studied cases where patients were prescribed antibiotics at some point between 2002 and 2011. They matched the patients with other patients of the same age and sex that were given other antibiotics. Liver damage cases were compared to patients prescribed the antibiotic clarithromycin. None of the study population had a history of liver injury or disease prior to the study.

The researchers found that those patients given the moxifloxacin antibiotic had more than double the risk of acute liver injury, while those given levofloxacin had almost twice the risk of liver damage when compared to those taking clarithromycin. Moxifloxacin and levofloxacin are both fluoroquinolones.

The study population yielded 144 patients who suffered from severe liver injury inside of 30 days from the time they began taking one of these antibiotics. Of those 144 patients, over 60% of them – 88 patients – died of liver complications as a result of their use of these antibiotics.

Does this mean clarithromycin does not cause liver damage?

While the comparison of these antibiotics to clarithromycin might make clarithromycin look like it does not cause liver damage, that is not the case. Studies have shown that clarithromycin also can cause two types of acute liver injury. These include increased serum aminotransferase levels and jaundice. These forms of liver damage can occur from a week to three weeks after beginning treatment or they can increase over time with longer prescription periods.

Raised serum aminotransferase levels can be dangerous in the short run, sometimes causing fatality. Jaundiced liver damage, however, can cause long term damage to the liver resulting in weakened liver function for years after the prescription.

Other risks of fluoroquinolone antibiotics

Liver damage is not the only risk of fluoroquinolone antibiotic therapy. Other possible adverse side effects of these medications include peripheral neuropathy, toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), photosensivity and phototoxicity (skin damage from sun), pseudomembranous colitis (intestinal cramping), psychotic reactions and intestinal infections including severe Clostridium difficile infections.

Other research has confirmed the connection between antibiotic therapy and sometimes-deadly Clostridium difficile infections. In a review of 1,138 studies published by the Healthcare Infection Society, deaths from Clostridium difficile infections associated with antibiotic prescriptions more than doubled between 1999 and 2004. And the recurrence of Clostridium difficile infections despite specific antibiotic treatment reached as high as 36% in some of the studies.

Other research has shown that Clostridium difficile infections can be prevented using probiotics. A meta-study that reviewed 34 studies including 4,138 patients found that using probiotics cut the risk of Clostridium difficile infection by half for those using antibiotics.

As to whether probiotics can prevent or ameliorate liver damage associated with fluoroquinolone antibiotics, that is another question entirely.

Click here to learn more about probiotics.


Case Adams is a California Naturopath and holds a Ph.D. in Natural Health Sciences. His focus is upon science-based natural health solutions. He is the author of 20 books on natural health and numerous print and internet articles. His work can be found at http://www.casea



USDA Will Investigate Unapproved Antibiotics Labels


USDA will investigate unapproved antibiotics labels

Posted by Meg Bohne in Uncategorized

Just two weeks after Consumer Reports issued our Meat on Drugs report criticizing, among other things, USDA’s system for overseeing labels on meat and poultry products that are raised without antibiotics, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack sent a letter to Consumers Union indicating that the agency plans to establish a new standard and investigate the use of unapproved antibiotics claims currently made by some companies .

In March, as part of the research for Meat on Drugs, Consumer Reports deployed ‘secret shoppers’ to grocery stores around the country to look for meat raised without antibiotics, and take note of the wording on packages. Little did we expect to find over 20 variations in ‘no antibiotics’-type labels, several of which were unapproved for use by the USDA. (Read Full Article)


New Government Proposal Threatens Food Safety

New Government Proposal Threatens Food Safety

Posted By Nourishing the Planet On April 11, 2012

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to fully implement a high-speed poultry production model that allows industry and private companies to take over inspection at poultry production plants. The model includes cutting 1,000 USDA poultry inspection employees and replacing them with plant inspectors who have to examine 165–200 birds per minute (bpm), from the original 140 bpm. That’s the inspection of more than three chickens per second.

Poultry inspectors protest inspection proposal at USDA (Photo credit: Food Safety News)

The proposal, formally known as the HACCP Based Inspection Models Project, or BIMP, will improve food safety and save taxpayer dollars, according to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). But under the proposed rule, the USDA would shift federal inspectors away from quality inspection tasks, allowing slaughter lines to speed up production.

The FSIS is responsible for ensuring public health and food safety by examining all poultry for feces, blemishes, or visible defects before they are further processed.

About 1.2 million cases of food poisoning are caused by salmonella each year from contaminated chicken, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The program could pose a serious health risk by allowing a greater chance for contaminated meat to reach consumers. In affidavits given to the Government Accountability Project, current inspectors say the proposal speeds up assembly lines so much so that it hampers any effort to fully examine birds for defects.

“It’s tough enough when you are trying to examine 140 birds per minute with professional inspectors,” said Stan Painter, a federal inspector in Crossville, Alabama. “This proposal makes it impossible.”

“Cutting the budget does not justify putting the health and safety of consumers and workers in the balance,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch.

This week, food inspection workers (members of the American Federation of Government Employees) rallied outside the USDA to oppose the proposal. At the protest rally, inspectors held signs that read: “Chicken Inspection Isn’t a Speed Sport,” “Don’t Play Chicken with Safety,” and “Speed Kills.”

We count on USDA inspectors to help us keep our families safe and healthy.

Tell the USDA you won’t settle for unclean chicken. Sign the petition today!

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.


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Surprise: Antibiotics May Be Contributing to the Obesity Epidemic

Posted By ANH-USA On April 3, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

obesity antibiotic [1]Worse, their overuse may also increase our cancer risk.

We’ve been telling you about the global threat of superbugs [2]. Much of it comes from handing out antibiotics like medicinal candy to humans or as dietary supplements to animals. Now there’s new evidence of the negative effect of antibiotics on our weight as well as a potentially devastating effect on our children’s (and children’s children’s) health.

Microbiologists at New York University have published a new study [3] that says the overprescribing of antibiotics could be making us fat! Researchers fed infant mice low doses of penicillin; after 30 weeks, penicillin-fed mice were between 10 and 15 per cent bigger and twice as fat as drug-free mice.

This affirms research from Copenhagen [4] which found that infants given antibiotics within the first six months of life were more likely to be overweight at age 7, even if their mother was of a healthy weight.

In the NYU study, when mice were given short courses of higher dose antibiotics—the kind that young children tend to receive for infections—their immune systems became compromised, producing significantly lower numbers of helper T-cells.

The study also showed that low doses of antibiotics shifted the balance of certain gut microbes, reducing the numbers of Lactobacillus, a “good” bacterium linked to a lower risk of cancer recurrence. A healthy gut that contains a great variety of good bacteria is our best protection against cancer; after all, our intestines are a powerhouse of our body’s immune system.

Researchers at the University of Oklahoma have been studying fossilized feces [5]. This may sound odd but there is a lot to be learned. Among other things they found that ancient feces have more bacterial DNA in common with those of non-human primates and children living in rural Africa than they do with modern, Western gut microbiomes (a word that describes microbes, their genetic elements, and their interactions in a particular environment).

It’s not that the new gut microbiome is better—just the opposite, in fact. Changing the composition of the bacterial colonies lining our intestines has been linked to [6] irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, asthma, Parkinson’s disease, and many other problems.

Carl Lewis, the lead author of the U of O study, said, “My first hypothesis would be that chlorinated water and antibiotics have fundamentally changed human microbiomes….The association between antibiotics and obesity is important to explore.”

Lewis didn’t make this connection, but if chlorinated water is harming our gut, what about fluoride, a known neurotoxin? As we reported last month [7], fluoride in our water supply increases the accumulation of lead in bone, teeth, and other calcium-rich tissues, transporting heavy metals into areas of your body they normally would not be able to go—like your brain. Might it not also affect the gut microbiome?

There is an underlying irony to the new questions surrounding antibiotics and other quick fixes to infectious diseases. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, medicine was not a high-prestige profession. It is antibiotics in particular that changed all that. Suddenly, with the emergence of these “wonder drugs,” doctors and conventional medicine were put on a pedestal by most people.

This is still observable among some older people, who express the attitudes they grew up with. But today, with resistant pathogens exploding, the pandemic danger increasing, and the unintended consequences of “wonder drugs” becoming clearer, more and more people are looking for a greater degree of humility and openness to new ideas from the conventional medical community.

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Antibiotic Overuse in Animal Agriculture | Nourishing the Planet

Antibiotic Overuse in Animal Agriculture | Nourishing the Planet.

Antibiotic Overuse in Animal Agriculture Nourishing the Planet

Agriculture, Health, Livestock, Meat

Antibiotics, a class of drugs used to treat bacterial infections, are becoming less and less effective in human medicine because of the emergence of resistant bacteria. An estimated 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are for livestock, not humans

An estimated 70 percent of all U.S. antibiotics are used nontherapeutically in animal agriculture. (Image credit: Keep Antibiotics Working Coalition)

Factory farms, or concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), use antibiotics to help animals increase weight quickly and to keep them alive in crowded, stressful, unsanitary conditions.

When bacteria are routinely exposed to antibiotics, they become resistant and harder to treat. As a result, drug choices for treatment of common infections are diminishing and becoming more expensive. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 38 Americans die each day from hospital-acquired antibiotic-resistant infections.

This month, the Keep Antibiotics Working Coalition, along with Pew Charitable Trusts and the American Academy of Pediatrics, launched a “We the People” petition to voice concern to the White House that there is widespread overuse of antibiotics in industrial animal farming. The campaign is collecting signatures to compel members of the White House to address this critical issue. After the petition gets 25,000 signatures by March 16th, the White House will be obligated to review the petition and issue a response to the public.

To sign this petition urging the Obama Administration to end antibiotic overuse in animal food production click here.

To purchase State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet please click HERE. And to watch the one minute book trailer, click HERE.


What Drugs Was Your Thanksgiving Turkey On?

What Drugs Was Your Thanksgiving Turkey On? | | AlterNet.

What Drugs Was Your Thanksgiving Turkey On?
By Martha Rosenberg, AlterNet
Posted on November 20, 2011,

So far, 2011 has not been a great year for turkey producers. In May, an article in Clinical Infectious Diseases reported that half of U.S. meat from major grocery chains–turkey, beef, chicken and pork–harbors antibiotic resistant staph germs commonly called MRSA. Turkey had twice and even three times the MRSA of all other meats, in another study.

In June, Pfizer announced it was ending arsenic-containing chicken feed which no one realized they were eating anyway, but its arsenic-containing Histostat, fed to turkeys, continues. Poultry growers use inorganic arsenic, a recognized carcinogen, for “growth promotion, feed efficiency and improved pigmentation,” says the FDA. Yum.

And in August, Cargill Value Added Meats, the nation’s third-largest turkey processor, recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey because of a salmonella outbreak, linked to one death and 107 illnesses in 31 states. Even as it closed its Springdale, Arkansas plant, steam cleaned its machinery and added “two additional anti-bacterial washes” to its processing operations, 185,000 more pounds were recalled the next month from the same plant.

Since the mad cow and Chinese melamine scandals of the mid 2000’s, a lot more people think about the food their food ate than before. But fewer people think about the drugs their food ingested. Food animal drugs seldom rate Capitol Hill hearings which is just fine with Big Pharma animals divisions since if people knew the antibiotics, heavy metals, growth promotants, vaccines, anti-parasite drugs and feed additives used on the farm, they would lose their appetite. Besides, people aren’t Animal Pharma’s primary customers anyway and the long term safety of animals drugs isn’t an issue, since patients supposed to die.  (Read Full Article)

FDA Warns Of Counterfeit Antibiotics Aimed at Hispanics

FDA Warns Of Counterfeit Antibiotics Aimed at Hispanics. FDA Warns Of Counterfeit Antibiotics Aimed at Hispanics

Criminals targeting the Hispanic community in Texas distributed fake drugs with names that resemble children’s antibiotics to pharmacies across the state, sparking a state investigation and a warning to parents.

The over-the-counter products, described as “dietarysupplements” by the Texas Department of State Health Services, have made their way into pharmacies statewide, it said.

“The products do not appear to have any active drug ingredients and are not approved to treat medical conditions.”

The products come in syrup, ointment, capsule and drinkable forms, and have names like Amoxilina, Pentrexcilina, Ampitrexyl, Citricillin, Amoximiel and Pentreximil.

Officials learned of the situation after a hospital in Austin, Texas reported treating “several patients whose parents mistakenly believed they had been treating their children with an antibiotic,” it said.

Read more: FDA Warns Of Counterfeit Antibiotics Aimed at Hispanics

Study Finds Antibiotic-Resistant Staph in U.S. Food Supply

Study Finds Antibiotic-Resistant Staph in U.S. Food Supply.

Study Finds Antibiotic-Resistant Staph in U.S. Food Supply

April 27, 2011

The ongoing debate regarding antibiotics use with animals destined for the table has centered on whether drug-resistant organisms created on farms travel from the farm to humans. According to a newly published study (PDF), they do.

Researchers from the Center of Food Microbiology and Environmental Health at the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Flagstaff, Arizona, found one in four packages of meat and poultry purchased contained multi-drug resistant staph.

This is the first such study of drug-resistant staph in the U.S. food supply. The researchers say it remains unknown whether humans can be infected from raw meat.

Meat producers reportedly provide healthy animals with low doses of antibiotics for several reasons. The two leading rationales are to promote young animals’ growth and to reduce the spread of infections in factory farm operations.

The researchers purchased packaged meats — 136 packages of ground beef, chicken breasts and thighs, pork chops and ground pork, and ground turkey — in five U.S. cities. Of the meat samples tested, 47 percent were contaminated with Staphylococccus aureus. Of those, more than half were resistant to three or more antibiotics.

Representatives from the turkey and pork producers contend their products are safe. “Staphylococcus aureus is a very common bacteria found in the environment, and is one of the most common found on human hands. It rarely causes any health problems,” says Hilary Thesmar, director of scientific and regulatory affairs for the National Turkey Federation in Washington, D.C., in a statement reprinted by WebMD.

“Contamination by human hands is a likely source of contamination of the products in this study,” Thesmar says. “The most important message for consumers is to follow proper food safety methods, such as washing your hands and cooking meat and poultry thoroughly. Following good food safety practices will ensure that consumers continue to enjoy safe, high-quality, and nutritious turkey products.”

Even so, there is no conclusive data showing these measures will curb or prevent the spread of staph. These forms of staph live on the skin and can continue to live there without causing illness for an unpredictable amount of time. The risk of contamination has not been studied.

Antibiotic resistance’s cost to medicine in the US has exceeded the billion dollar mark, according to The Los Angeles Times. Among the most egregious contributors to this is the predominance of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which is a dangerous antibiotic-resistant infectious disease.

Although there is a system in place in the U.S. that looks for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, it does not look for MRSA. Even so, testing food for MRSA would not have found the various multi-drug resistant strains revealed in this latest study because they were not MRSA.

This newest work supports previous research from The Netherlands that found live poultry and meat carried identical, highly drug-resistant E. coli. This led them to conclude that antibiotic resistance seems to be moving from poultry raised with antibiotics to humans via food. The study specifically looked at extended-spectrum beta-lactamase resistance (ESBL).

The Los Angeles Times notes that antibiotic resistance has long been a problem. In 1969, a British government study recommended banning antibiotics. “The first observation that giving antibiotics to animals spreads antibiotic-resistant bacteria to humans was made in 1976, and there has been a steady accumulation of evidence since,” wrote Maryn McKenna, author of Superbug and Beating Back the Devil, in a March Wired article.

Organizations including World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association, and others support restricting antibiotic use, including for treating humans. This new study was partially funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, which also studied the issue in its Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production.

“For more than 50 years microbiologists have warned against using antibiotics to fatten up farm animals. The practice, they argue, threatens human health by turning farms into breeding grounds of drug-resistant bacteria,” wrote Scientific American’s editors in a March 30, 2011, editorial.

“Although even the proper use of antibiotics can inadvertently lead to the spread of drug-resistant bacteria, the habit of using a low or subtherapeutic dose is a formula for disaster: the treatment provides just enough antibiotic to kill some but not all bacteria. …  The data from multiple studies over the years support the conclusion that low doses of antibiotics in animals increase the number of drug-resistant microbes in both animals and people. …Stronger measures to deprive drug-resistant bacteria of their agricultural breeding grounds simply make scientific, economic and common sense.” (Article Link)

By Linda Dailey Paulson

Image by nate steiner, used under its Creative Commons license.

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