Big Chickens and antibiotics

From the website, ScienceNews,  I read a review of Journalist Maryn McKenna’s book “Big Chicken, The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats”.

She discusses how in Europe when you buy a chicken at market it tastes succulent compared to the corporate raised, antibiotic treated, bland tasting chickens in the U.S.  Because of the use of antibiotics in chickens in the U.S., the bacteria has become drug resistant.  Now the scientists are seeing a more prevalent outbreak of Salmonella infections in humans, and ailing chickens living in crowded conditions.  We are what we eat!

Farmers started using antibiotics in the 1940’s because they increased the muscle mass in chickens. The farmer used less feed because the chicken grew bigger faster.  More profits. They then had more chickens in a crowded space.  So, the antibiotics took on a secondary role to combat/prevent infections among the crowded chickens.  And whatever the chickens ingest, feed and drugs, we get from them.  So, the cause of drug resistant bacteria from antibiotics in our food passes on to us. We are also the recipients of the drug resistant bacteria. McKenna draws clear connections between several dramatic foodborne outbreaks in humans and the industrialization of chicken production in large part to the heavy use of these drugs.

The good news, there are more farmers today and large companies that are not using antibiotics on their chickens.  In 2014, Chick-fil-A announced they would stop serving chicken raised on antibiotics in five years.  McDonald’s, Subway, Costco and Walmart followed suit.

Thankfully, I can usually find chickens without antibiotics in the grocery store.  Watch out for the Big Chicken!

Here’s to your Health!

Kim Lowrey, Colon Hydrotherapist

Colon Hydrotherapy Center, Fayetteville, AR


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