Women Probiotics Women Probiotics

ADVERTISEMENT

Organic Chickens Are The Way to Go

Would you consider buying chicken laden with antibiotics and pesticides if you knew how sick you could get by eating it? If you're a regular reader of my blog, however, you're probably aware of all the evidence suggesting the poultry industry's use of antibiotics promotes a resistance among food borne bacteria that infect humans.

But you may not know one antibiotic-resistant strain of Campylobacter, a pathogen common to chicken products, is responsible for inducing food poisoning in more than 1 million Americans annually and is considered a growing health threat. A new study by Johns Hopkins found chickens raised without the use of antibiotics are less likely to carry antibiotic-resistant strains of Campylobacter.

Researchers tested chicken products from conventional manufacturers (Tyson and Perdue) and antibiotic-free producers (Bell & Evans and Eberly) all of whom claim to have stopped using fluoroquinolones (FQs), a class of antimicrobials used to control the bacterium Escherichia coli in broiler chickens. (By the way, the FDA is considering a recall of the last remaining FQs initially approved for use due to concerns it contributes to microbial resistance.)

The results were not at all surprising:

  • Producers that abstained from using FQs decreased the likelihood of Campylobacter contamination in their products.
  • Conventionally-grown chicken products were up to 460 times more likely to carry resistant strains than their antibiotic-free counterparts.
  • FQ resistance in conventional chicken products persisted for one year after its industrial use was stopped.

I suspect studies like this one probably had much to do with a growing number of fast-food restaurants now offering healthier foods, including organic, free-range chicken.

But there's a lingering misconception among many that buying such foods is way too expensive, even if they enhance your health. That's why I strongly recommend reviewing Colleen Huber's excellent piece about finding organic foods for the same price as processed foods, or less.

Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 113, Number 5, May 2005: 557-560

Click Here and be the first to comment on this article
Post your comment