Would you like that turkey with or without antibiotics?

The huge national recall on ground turkey in the past couple of weeks has turned the spotlight on important issues of food safety.  Not only was this turkey contaminated with the bacteria Salmonella, but many of these bacteria were resistant to common antibiotics.  How did this come about?

It is common practice in the poultry industry to administer low levels of antibiotics to birds, not because they are sick, or even to prevent infections.  It’s simply to make them grow faster — a purely economic motivation.  And the consequences are what we’re facing now — poultry potentially infected with super-bacteria that have built up a resistance to common antibiotics.  So when people contract these illnesses, we have to look farther afield for the right medicines to treat them.

One of the principles of naturopathic medicine is that prevention is better than cure.  So please practice safe food preparation techniques — use separate knifes and cutting boards for raw poultry, and wash your hands before and after handling.  Cook thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.  Another precaution you can take is to choose organic poultry:  a new study found that these birds are much less likely to carry the resistant superbugs that are so common in conventionally-raised fowl.  Yet another reason to go organic!

Poultry raised organically is less resistant to antibiotics (Seattle Times)

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