Consumer Reports

Foods That Claim No Antibiotics

Restaurant owner Leslie Lampert says she makes every effort to make sure the meat for her restaurant is locally produced and raised without antibiotics.

“Does it cost more? Yes, but do I feel great at the end of every night knowing it’s more healthful? Yes,” said Lampert.

Research shows there is a connection between the overuse of antibiotics in food animals and drug resistant infections in people.

“In other words, our arsenal of antibiotics may no longer work to kill bacteria that cause certain illnesses," said Trisha Calvo, Consumer Reports Health Editor. "We calculate that about one in five people who got an antibiotic resistant infection got it from something they ate."

To avoid antibiotic treated animals, check the labels carefully.

This label says “no growth promoting antibiotics” that means those used to enable quicker weight gain. But look at the much smaller print and you’ll see that antibiotics might still have been used in this turkey to treat or prevent illness.

Another twist: Some fast food restaurants — KFC, Taco Bell and Wendy’s — promise that now or soon they will only serve poultry that is raised “without antibiotics important to human medicine,” meaning none that are given to people.

“Eliminating medically important antibiotics does help thwart antibiotic resistance. But it’s not as good as eliminating all antibiotic use in healthy animals,” Calvo said.

Your best bet is to look for labels that say “never given antibiotics,” “No antibiotics ever,” or “raised without antibiotics.”

So does the label “organic” automatically mean the meat was raised without antibiotics?

Look for the USDA organic seal for organic products. And to kill bacteria of any kind always be sure to cook chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees and steak to 145 degrees. Ground beef should reach 160 degrees.

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