Green Chicken is Best

Removing antibiotics from chicken farming leads to less resistant bacteria

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) You've probably heard natural is better, and that is definitely the case for chicken. All natural, no antibiotic use in chicken farms have less antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Antibiotic resistant bacteria that develop from the use of antibiotics is a huge health concern in America because conventional methods of animal food production use antibiotics. Infection with antibiotic resistant bacteria can lead to sickness and sometimes death if the disease is not treated. So green isn't just good for the environment, it's also good for the body.

"Organic chicken is safer to eat."

Amy R. Sapkota, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor from the University of Maryland School of Public Health, found a significant reduction in resistant bacteria when farms switched from conventional antibiotic use to organic non-use of antibiotics.

The researchers tested a specific strain of bacteria, enterococci, that is present in all chicken regardless of antibiotic use. The study included ten conventional farms and ten newly switched organic farms located in the mid-Atlantic region.

All farms' feed, litter and water tested positive for enterococci, but the surprising find was that the organic farms that weren't using antibiotics had a much lower prevalence of antibiotic-resistant enterococci.

Bacteria that are resistant to multiple drugs are particularly hazardous to the public because they can be difficult to treat. The researchers found that there was only 10 percent multi-drug resistant bacteria in organic farms compared to 84 percent in conventional farms.

That is a huge difference, Sapkota says. As long as organic farms discontinue the use of antibiotics, the population of resistant bacteria will diminish, she expects.

All large-scale U.S. chicken farms should stop using antibiotics because significant and dramatic reductions will be seen, Sapkota suggests.

The research is published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 10, 2011
Last Updated:
August 13, 2011