From: Health & Wellness by, Dr. Thomas W. Miller, Ph.D, ABPP

Just what is in the food we eat? Considering the food chain, did you know adding antibiotics to food dates back to the 1940s? Antibiotic use has led to a dramatic reduction in illness and death from infectious diseases, yet there is a downside to this practice. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and others encourage health care professionals and patients to use antibiotics more wisely and seek education and understanding about both the risks and benefits of using them.

Nearly 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States are used in meat and poultry production. The vast majority are given to healthy animals to promote growth or prevent disease in unsanitary conditions. The meat and poultry production industries argue there is no harm in this practice and insist they are in compliance with that policy from the past century.

The critical question is whether antibiotic use in animals promotes the development of hard-to-treat antibiotic-resistant superbugs that make people sick. Could current usage in animals pose a serious threat to human health? The Consumers Union has concluded the threat to public health from the overuse of antibiotics in food animals is real and growing. Humans are at risk both due to the potential presence of superbugs in meat and poultry and to the general migration of superbugs into the environment, where they can transmit their genetic immunity to antibiotics to bacteria for which there are currently no immune capabilities.

Several health organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, the Infectious Disease Society of America and the World Health Organization, have called for significant reductions in the use of antibiotics for animal food production.