With lots of people gearing up for 4th of July celebrations, there will be countless burgers and hotdogs consumed amidst the sound of happy banter. Before you enjoy your well-earned holiday, take a moment to think about the meat you will buy. Why choose antibiotic free meat? Does it really make a difference?
Recently, the Environmental Working Group released an analysis that showed the shocking link between antibiotic overuse in traditional grocery meat products and the development of superbugs, or bacteria that is resistant to treatment. In fact, these so-called superbugs can trigger dangerous foodborne illness and infections.
Some important things from the report to consider:
• The Environmental Working Group has determined that government tests of raw supermarket meat detected antibiotic-resistant bacteria in 81 percent of ground turkey, 69 percent of pork chops, 55 percent of ground beef and 39 percent of breasts, wings or thighs.
• In less than a decade, the proportion of antibiotic-resistant salmonella bacteria found on raw chicken has dramatically increased—from 48 percent in 2002 samples to 74 percent in 2011 samples.
• Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization, said that if important antibiotics become useless, “things as common as strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could once again kill.”
Thankfully, if this is something that concerns you, there are many antibiotic-free meat options to choose from. Simply look on the packaging to verify that the meat you are eating is raised without antibiotics.