A report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit environmental research group, found that almost 80% of meat found in U.S. supermarkets contained antibiotic-resistant bacteria dubbed as ‘superbugs’ in 2015. The concerning portion of this news is that these bacteria have evolved to becomes untreatable with antibiotics. It’s now becoming more and more difficult to treat infections in hospitals because of this resistance. It’s estimated around two million people in the United States develop infections resistant to antibiotics each year.
Why Are We Seeing More Superbugs?
The United States overuses antibiotics. The FDA currently allows meat producers and factory farmers to give their animals antibiotics even when they’re not sick. They do this to keep their animals healthy, but it is also creating a backlash of bacteria becoming resistant. Bacteria are like any other creature that will adapt to their environment to reproduce. So, the drugs that are meant to kill these bacteria are failing in certain respects and instead giving rise to superbugs.
How Prevalent are Superbugs in Meat?
The report found that most meats in our supermarkets contain superbugs. This is a serious problem that our regulatory agencies need to address. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria were found at the following rates:
- Turkey – 79%
- Pork Chops – 71%
- Ground Beef – 62%
- Chicken – 36%