Antibiotic use in animal feed is putting your child’s health on the line
For years, we have been told that overusing antibiotics have created bacteria that are antibiotic resistant. Antibiotics are commonly used in animal feed in efforts of reducing illnesses, prevent diseases, and promote growth in livestock. Although this practice sure is keeping our tummies full, it costs us the health of our children, and ourselves. Doctor’s are now struggling to treat illnesses with antibiotics, finding that bacteria are becoming more resistant to treatment, now more than ever.
According to Dr. Theoklis Zaoutis of the University of Pennsylvania and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, antibiotics are in animal feed, which leads to antibiotic resistant bacteria, not only in the animal but humans and our environment. Each year, nearly two million Americans develop infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Sadly, about 23,000 of these people die, and these type of infections cost the U.S. healthcare system $21 to $34 billion dollars a year in treatment for these antibiotic-resistant illnesses.
According to researchers, our children, including babies, encounter these antibiotic-resistant bacteria via the food supply, the environment, and direct contact with animals. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network reports that most of these incidences involve children less than five years of age.
Overuse of antibiotics is a widespread problem. A solution to this problem is likely going to require a shift in how we raise livestock and produce their feed. However, there are several ways we can reduce our unnecessary exposure to antibiotics. It is not just the physician’s job to fix this problem of antibiotic overuse. Parents can take steps such as not insisting on a prescription for antibiotics to treat their child’s bacterial or viral illness, whenever possible. Also, opt for feeding your family organic food or foods that bear a label of “raised without antibiotics.” Each of us can make healthier choices concerning the health of our children and ourselves. Think twice about what you are allowing into your body.
Rapaport, Lisa (2015). Antibiotics in Animal Feed May Endanger Kids, Doctors Warn. Scientific American. Retrieved from