New data out this week from the FDA points to an ever-increasing amount of antibiotics sold in the US for livestock, now up to 29.9 million pounds annually. Antibiotics for humans, however, continued to stay constant at about 7.7 million pounds.
A great infographic by Pew Charitable Trusts includes this chart of livestock vs. human use, and says that despite the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria on farms that are infecting humans, “industrial farms haven’t gotten the message.”
On the same day, the FDA also released annual data on antibiotic-resistant bacteria in meat products. Of the ‘bugs’ found in meat, rates of Salmonella and E. coli are down but the prevalence of Campylobacter jumped significantly. What’s more, the resistance of these bacteria to antibiotics is on the rise. 2010 data showed that 50% of strains showed resistance to antibiotics – this year it’s up to almost 55%, with many strains resistant to five or more classes of antibiotics.
What’s this mean? If you get sick from these bacteria in your meat, it can be a lot harder to find an antibiotic that works to treat your infection.