Do You Need to Be Concerned about Antibiotics in Food?

Do You Need to Be Concerned about Antibiotics in Food?
April 12, 2013

Antibiotics are extremely important medications to treat a variety of different infections. Without them, there would be a much higher mortality rate from bacteria.

While the medication is so important, it must be used sparingly because the human body is capable of building up something called antibiotic resistance, which can make the medications much less useful.

What is Antibiotic Resistance?

Bacteria and germs are capable of extraordinary things. They can even mutate to stave off the power of antibiotics. If the human body is exposed to the medication on a regular basis, the bacteria can become resistant. The results are strains of infections that can’t be medically controlled and can pose a real threat to people. Because of this, many people are concerned about building up a resistance and becoming ill more easily.

This brings to light the issue of antibiotics being used in food grade meats. Is this something you should be worried about?

Is There a Concern?

Antibiotics are used in livestock to keep the animals healthy until they are used for meat. As you may be aware, medications are known to get into all parts of the body including muscle and fatty tissues. This is why many people fear those medications used in the meats will build a resistance in their own bodies as they eat the foods.

However, research has been done on this to determine if there is an issue. When the meat goes through processing so many different procedures are used that break down any antibiotic residue that remains. Scientists and doctors indicate that any residue that may make it to your table will be so small that it will never get past your own digestive system.

The Law

The Australian government has put in place several procedures to ensure you are safe from antibiotic resistance due to your foods. For example, none of the medication can be used on food grade animals until it passes review through the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority. Additionally, the food standards of Australia and New Zealand Commission checks foods randomly to ensure there are no noticeable antibiotics residues.

While there is potential for antibiotics to seep into the meats that you buy, they are carefully regulated to ensure this doesn’t happen. Through careful screening and proper procedures, the meats you eat should have so little of the residue that your body will never even notice, and this will not contribute to antibiotic resistance.