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Antibiotics In Meat Could Promote Food-Borne Illnesses

A recent study performed two universities in Ireland reveals a direct link between antibiotics found in certain meat products and the harmful bacteria that could lead to food-borne illnesses. The study states that antibiotic residue in meat inhibits the growth of bacteria designed to produce beneficial lactic acid. As you may already know, lactic acid is used in meats to help kill off harmful bacteria and pathogens, such as E.coli and Salmonella. To learn more about this study and how it may affect the food manufacturing industry, keep reading.

You might be wondering just how in the world antibiotics get inside of meat in the first place. Well, when livestock are raised, farmers oftentimes feed them antibiotics to fend off against infectious disease and illness. After all, when a cow, pig or some other livestock dies, it’s lost profit for the farm. Administering a few doses of general antibiotics has proven to help immensely in protecting livestock from a number of dangerous diseases out there. While there hasn’t been much negativity around the use of antibiotics, this recent study reveals that residue left over in the meat could lower the effectiveness of lactic-acid producing bacteria.

Some of the most common meat products injected with lactic-acid producing bacteria are sausage, pepperoni and salami. The reason for this is to control the fermentation process and allow the meat to become acidic enough to naturally fight off dangerous bacteria and pathogens which could cause food-borne illness.

It’s important to note that both the U.S. and U.K. Have set limits on how much antibiotics can be legally fed to livestock. Although no negative side effects have been proven from consuming meat from  cows or pigs fed antibiotics, there remains some skepticism by much of the public. This latest development involving antibiotics and lactic-acid producing bacteria is likely to cause ever greater concerns regarding the use of antibiotics in livestock.

Even though the U.S. and U.K. Have limitations on the amount of antibiotics farmers are allowed to feed their livestock, the study reported above was done under conditions allowed by both countries. They used meat that fell within the legal guidelines and regulations for both the U.S. and U.K. and what they found was that rather small amounts of antibiotics greatly affected the amount of lactic acid produced by the injected bacteria. It’s unclear as to whether or note this study will result in the change of government regulations, but it’s definitely something  any meat producer should take notice of.


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