Did you know that organic foods don’t just protect you from exposure to pesticide residues?  They can also decrease your risk of exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These diseases have been a hot topic this year, because of their quick spread across the population. 

An infectious problem

The Center for Disease Control put out a report showing that over 2 million illnesses and 23 thousand deaths are caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year, and the World Health Organization declared antibiotic-resistant bacteria a global health epidemic.

"Over 2 million illnesses and 23 thousand deaths are caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year..."

The gravity of the situation has led many to question why antibacterial resistance is spreading and how consumers can decrease their risk of coming into contact with these dangerous microbes.  One of the main culprits behind antibacterial resistance is the large-scale non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in agriculture. 

Fighting back

The good news is that by choosing organic you can prevent the spread of these diseases and reduce your risk of being exposed.  As opposed to conventional practices, organic livestock are raised without the use of antibiotics, which are prohibited by federal organic regulations unless medically necessary.

Because organic farming doesn’t use antibiotics in its production, it doesn’t select for microbial resistance, and can even protect consumers from coming into contact with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Surveys of retail stores show that organic chicken, turkey, pork, beef and eggs are much less likely to be contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria than conventional products.

While cooking meat at the proper temperature will kill microbes, consumers can still be exposed through cross-contamination of kitchen surfaces or kitchen utensils, or even eating preferences like enjoying a medium-rare steak.  Choosing organic, especially when it comes to meats, is a simple and effective way to fight the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and to protect your own health.