Food Safety Concerns from Antibiotic Resistance - No Better, Maybe Worse

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their 2013 report on drug resistance among bacteria that infect people across the U.S., including bacteria that are associated with food.

The trends evident from the report are worrying because for some bacteria that can infect people, and make them sick, the number of useful antibiotics is dropping; the report shows that some antibiotics still remain effective for treating the other bacteria tested.

The take home message is that antimicrobial stewardship remains critical. For effective antibiotics, we have to try our best to keep them effective. In order to do that, reductions in use are absolutely essential. All antibiotic use can lead to antibiotic resistance, whether in humans or in animals, and efforts on both fronts are necessary to slow the development of resistance.

CDC singled out two special areas of concern:

  • A near doubling of resistance to the macrolide class of antibiotics (which includes erythromycin) in Campylobacter bacteria. Antibiotic resistance is on the rise for one of only two treatments for severe Campylobacter infections. Resistance to macrolides rose more dramatically in Campylobacter coli, a less common type of Campylobacter that can also cause disease and is found in chicken.

Another area of concern: