A new study by researchers with the US Department of Agriculture has found similar levels of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in ground beef raised with and without antibiotics. The findings appeared in the Journal of Food Protection.
The authors of the study say the data, along with previous research they’ve done on AMR in conventionally raised and “raised without antibiotics” (RWA) cattle, suggest that antimicrobial use in US cattle production has “minimal to no impact on AMR in the resident bacteria.”
The finding comes at a time of heightened concern about the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals, who consume between 70% and 80% of medically important antibiotics sold worldwide, and how that use affects human health. The World Health Organization and other public health groups have called for limits on their use in livestock and poultry, arguing that widespread use of these drugs for growth promotion and disease prevention in healthy animals contributes to the emergence of drug-resistant pathogens, which can be transmitted to humans through meat.