Factory farms, the root of new superbugs

11-08-2008 | | |

A new study now claims that the heavy use of antibiotics in livestock farming is cause of many superbugs, causing illness on a large scale.

Superbugs, including salmonella, campylobacter and E.coli, are said to have developed an immunity to antibiotics, which is an issue reportedly recognised by the World Health Organisation and doctors and academics who have called for a reduction in the use of antibiotics on farms and in human medicine, reports the Daily Mail.

This problem has been highlighted in a study published by the Food Commission by organic farming expert and policy adviser to the Soil Association, Richard Young.

“The use of antibiotics is a cornerstone of intensive livestock production and because this is such an enormous industry there will inevitably be a reluctance to change,” he said.

“No one wants to stop farmers using antibiotics when they are genuinely needed. However, there are a number of very serious problems now developing and the evidence increasingly suggests that food is part of the problem.”

Young went on to say that we need an urgent review of the overall situation with clear recommendations to prevent an “impending crisis”. Experts at EFSA have called for a Europe-wide review of safety regimes to tackle the growing menace of food superbugs.

A report from EFSA experts published this year concluded that “Antimicrobial resistance of bacteria is a growing concern as antimicrobials become less effective in fighting human infections”, and this coincides with a rise in bacterial resistance to antimicrobials in animal populations,” said Young.

“The principal foods carrying such antimicrobial resistant bacteria are poultry meat, eggs, pork or beef,” the report added. 

Related Website
• European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)