Antibiotic Resistant Superbugs Widespread on British Farms


photo: Sara Novak

At first these salmonella and e coli superbugs were found at a handful of British farms, but according to the Soil Association, the nearly untreatable superbugs are running rampant across the country. Find out what's causing the frightening outbreak.Scientists are noticing more and more strains of drug resistant e coli and salmonella. One superbug, ESBL E.coli, was first found at a British farm in 2008 and has now made its way to 37 percent of the country's dairy farms. Other salmonella superbugs have been found in pigs in Britain.

According to Richard Young from the Soil Association:

"There has been little public scrutiny of farm antibiotic use for over a decade, yet during that time we have seen farmers dramatically increase their use of antibiotics classified by the WHO as 'critically important in human medicine' and we have also seen the development of several serious antibiotic-resistant bugs in farm animals which are passing to humans on food and in other ways."

Many medical experts in the US have long condemned the overuse of antibiotics on healthy animals, warning that illnesses can appear in ways we cannot even see, like causing millions of bladder infections each year in the US. The US is responding by putting forth the strongest set of guidelines on antibiotics ever.

According to the New York Times, the new FDA guidelines would end farm use of antibiotics simply to promote faster animal growth and call for tighter oversight by veterinarians. At issue is that these will be just that, guidelines, meaning that they are voluntary, and will not have the binding force of regulations. If we know there's a problem why wouldn't we enforce the new restrictions?

More on Antibiotics:
Tyson Injects Unborn Chickens with Antibiotics, Sues USDA to Keep Antibiotic-Free Label
Can We Get Antibiotics Out of the Meat Industry?
Get Antibiotics Out of Agriculture: Support the Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act