Choosing Organic Over Antibiotic Resistance


There are so many reasons for choosing organic dairy, egg and meat products. To name a few, they’re typically much better for the animals, and certainly much healthier for the farmer and the people who consume the products. But there’s another reason that’s becoming much more important these days: avoiding antibiotics.

According to new research by recently formed U.K.’s Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, a continued rise in antibiotic resistance could lead to a staggering 10 million deaths every year, as well as diminished Gross Domestic Product for the wealthiest nations.

The agency’s first paper looked at two models created by by RAND Europe and KPMG. “The scenarios involved three bacteria that already show concerning resistance levels (Klebsiella pneumonia, E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus) and three broader public health issues for which resistance is a concern (HIV, tuberculosis and malaria),” reports Food Safety News.

RAND’s scenario model looked at 100 percent antibiotic resistance after 15 years, and KPMG looked at a 40 percent rise in antibiotic resistance with the number of infections doubling, with longer recovery time.
“According to the research, these scenarios would cost $60-100 trillion U.S. dollars — equivalent to the loss of about one year’s total global output — and cause 300 million people to die prematurely over the next 35 years,” FSN explains.

The infections with the greatest impact included E. coli and malaria.

“This might be one of the world’s biggest problems, but it does not need to be its hardest,” the report states. “At the core of this Review is the conviction that we need to preserve and further support the huge progress in medicine and poverty alleviation that has taken place over the last 25 years. It would be unforgiveable if the great progress made in combatting infectious diseases could be threatened by the lack of new drugs that are within reach, or for lack of common sense investment in infrastructure that keeps us safe from avoidable infections.”

While we can’t stop the spread of antibiotic resistance, we can stop buying products that contain antibiotics. And this primarily comes down to meat, eggs, dairy and farmed fish products. Buying organic (or wild-caught fish) tells the conventional animal industry that antibiotics need to be removed from animal feed.

Already some companies are listening and removing antibiotics (without going organic). But choosing organic animal products, with the myriad of other benefits, is doing more than just protecting the animals, the land and the health of the farmers, it may also save your life.

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