Antibiotics in Our Food
What are Antibiotics?
Antibiotics are substances used to destroy specific types of bacteria and other microorganisms for the treatment of infection. They are often created and synthesized from other microorganisms, while they are found to act on the vital processes inside the cells of bacteria, interfering in the creation of bacterial proteins, thus leading to the destruction of the harmful elements.
Each antibiotic has its own spectrum of bacteria which are susceptible to damage by its action. But there are also strains of bacteria that become resistant to a certain antibiotic. In case that occurs, the treatment should be changed to a different type of antibiotic. This is the reason why a bacterial culture is usually recommended to people whose bacterial infection is of unknown cause. Identification of the actual bacteria causing the disease is vital for diagnosis especially in determining which antibiotic to be prescribed for treatment. On the other hand, too much of the wrong antibiotic in the body may lead to the formation of resistant strains of the same bacteria.
Antibiotics in our food
In modern conventional farming, animals such as cows, pigs, and chicken are given antibiotics and hormones to promote the growth thereof. Unfortunately, this can cause resistant bacterial strains to occur. The utilization of growth hormones can also cause the animals to wear down earlier than expected. As a consequence, the milk from cows undergoing antibiotic growth therapy will show elevated levels of growth factor. This growth factor has been shown to be elevating the risk for cancer for milk drinkers.
The increase in the number of pathogenic bacteria that are resistant to bacteria is already becoming a major problem. This can mostly be accounted for the giving of antibiotics to animals in farms. Its contribution to the problem is even greater than the excessive prescription of antibiotics to humans by physicians. These animals are given these antibiotics in order to enhance their growth as well as prevent diseases from occurring in stressed, jammed farm animals. Studies have shown that farm animals use more than half of all the antibiotics used in Australia as compared to people. For this reason, the World Health Organization has suggested a decrease in the antibiotics use in agriculture.
The Organic Alternative
In organic farming, the need to enhance the growth of animals is answered by taking better care of the farm animals by providing their needs, keeping their barns clean and other maintenance procedures. Some even go to the extent of making them feel at home wherein they let them graze in the mountains instead of staying indoors all day. Here, antibiotics are also used but only when necessary.
It is always important to take care of oneself by eating the right amount and kind of food, especially the processes wherein certain foods undergo. It is saddening to know that not all the food that we eat is really natural and nutritious as we like to think they are. Advances in agriculture and science, specifically the creation of antibiotics, have helped in ensuring the health of a majority of living organisms, but these also pose a threat to our general welfare if they are misused or abused.
Article excerpted from http://www.goorganic.com.au