Misuse and overuse of antibiotics is fueling a scourge of drug-resistant infections, a dire threat to public health. While doctors are working to become better stewards of the life-saving medicines, many health experts are taking aim at farms, which soak up nearly 80 percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States.
Today, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco are calling commentary in the American Journal of Public Health to call on the country’s hospitals to ditch meat from farms that pump their livestock with antibiotics. The UCSF Medical Center’s cafeterias and catering services have been phasing out such meat for the past two years, they report. And the effort parallels that of some restaurant chains, most notably, Chipotle. The strategy could limit life-threatening infections and help preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics, experts say.
The fear is that meat from antibiotic-friendly farms harbors drug-resistant bacteria, which could spread to humans when they touch or eat the meat.