top of page

Antibiotic Resistance



The use of antibiotics in red meat production contributes to the global issue of antibiotic resistance. 


Antibiotics are essential for preventing, controlling, and treating bacterial infections in both humans and animals. However, the overuse and misuse of antibiotics can result in resistant pathogens.


This practice is prevalent in the beef and pork industries, which together account for over 80% of medically important antibiotics given to farmed animals. Most of these antibiotics are given to prevent, rather than treat, disease and to promote animal growth. 


When an animal is given an antibiotic, which is through either injection or feed, both good and harmful bacteria are killed in the animal's intestines. However, a small group of bacteria may survive. This is because these bacteria have developed resistance to the antibiotic through mutation and selection. When bacteria become resistant, the original antibiotic can no longer kill them. These bacteria can grow and multiply, sometimes even sharing their resistance with other bacteria they meet. 


Source: CDC



Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can be transmitted to humans from animals. This can happen in various ways, including through direct contact with animals, exposure to animal manure, consumption of undercooked meat, and contact with uncooked meat or surfaces meat has touched. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria––such as Salmonella and E. Coli––can cause infections in humans that are harder to treat, leading to higher medical costs, prolonged care and recovery, and increased mortality.


Source: CDC



According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur each year in the U.S., resulting in more than 35,000 deaths.

When using an antibiotic, there is always a risk that bacteria will develop resistance. However, using antibiotics properly can help mitigate further resistance.




The sources for the information on this page can be found here.

bottom of page