Giving Thanks for Turkey Raised Without Antibiotics

November 23, 2014 10:07 PM

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Thanksgiving is the season to express gratitude, and we have a lot to be thankful for this year when it comes to public health. Food producers, restaurants, and government agencies have taken some important steps to curb the overuse of antibiotics in livestock raised for food -- a practice that, along with antibiotic overuse in human medicine, has contributed to the rise of drug-resistant bacteria. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that "more than 2 million people are sickened every year with antibiotic-resistant infections" in the United States, more than 20 percent of which are caused by two common foodborne bacteria, Salmonella and Campylobacter.

Before antibiotics were first used in human medicine more than 70 years ago, small infections such as staph and strep could be fatal. Not only have these drugs now reduced most of these illnesses to relatively minor ailments, but they have also made chemotherapy and organ transplants possible by red...

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