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Antibiotics 101

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What happens when antibiotics are used on animals on a regular basis, make their way into our food supply, and ultimately into our bodies? Read on and learn why it’s worth it to avoid consuming harmful antibiotics.

How are antibiotics used in agriculture?
Antibiotics, which are medicine that kills or inhibits the growth of microbes, such as bacteria and fungi, are often used in non-organic agriculture to speed up animal growth and ward off disease. Organic practices prohibit the use of antibiotics for the purpose of stimulating the growth or production of livestock. If an antibiotic is used to restore an animal to health, that animal cannot be used for organic production or be sold, labeled or represented as organic.organic cows

How can you avoid consuming antibiotics?
Go organic! By law, organic products must be made without the use of antibiotics.

For your health and the health of your family: Organic. It’s worth it!

What problems are associated with routine use of antibiotics?
If antibiotics are used too often, they can generate antibiotic resistance. When this happens, antibiotics can no longer be used to effectively treat bacterial infections and stronger antibiotics may be required to achieve the same effect. Overuse of antibiotics can also lead to drug-resistant infections.

Additionally, concerns exist that when humans consume foods made from animals treated with antibiotics, they may experience many of the same negative effects of routine antibiotic use seen in animals. Namely, humans may develop resistance to the antibiotics used, making it difficult to treat different types of bacterial infections.

The good news is that problems with antibiotic resistance are not consistent across all farms. A 2011 study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, found lower levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria (Enterococci) on U.S. conventional poultry farms that transitioned to organic practices. The study, which examined ten conventional and ten newly organic large-scale poultry houses in the mid-Atlantic region, tested for the presence of bacteria in poultry litter, feed, and water. It also examined the bacteria’s resistance to 17 common antibiotics, revealing that 84% of the Enterococcus bacteria from conventional farms were resistant to multiple antibiotics, compared to only 17% of bacteria from newly organic farms.