Chickens that have been given bovine antibiotics may be more susceptible to a drug-resistant strain of Campylobacter.
According to news sources, the Public Health Agency of Canada (CIPARS) is warning poultry farmers against giving their chickens bovine antibiotics. Doing so, they say, may increase the chickens’ susceptibility to a drug-resistant strain of Campylobacter. In 2009 Campylobacter, a common food-borne pathogen was responsible for 1,750 reported cases of food poisoning in BC alone.
Reports say that the resistant strain of Campylobacter has been found in up to 40 percent of supermarket-sold chicken in BC, and up to 28 percent in Saskatchewan. The rest of the country is doing better, with only 4 percent of supermarket chicken testing positive, thanks to the Canadian Integrated Program for Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance.
However, 4 percent is still too much. In order to completely avoid exposure to this drug-resistant strain of bacteria, we need to choose only poultry that is antibiotic-free—certified organic is an even better choice.
Better yet, we can make the decision to reduce our meat intake, poultry and otherwise. In Canada there are an estimated 11 million cases of food-borne illnesses—food poisoning—each year, most of which are transmitted by animal products: meat, chicken, fish, and eggs. By choosing to eat less meat, we reduce our exposure to the pathogens that lead to symptoms ranging from discomfort to death. However, even those who eat no animal products are still susceptible to food poisoning, so proper food handling is a must.