Why are antibiotics in meat considered bad

Pork massively contaminated with antibiotics

Schnitzel, roast pork and the like have a problem: A test carried out by the Agency for Health and Food Safety (Ages) on behalf of Greenpeace showed that every third sample was contaminated with antibiotic-resistant germs. According to the environmental organization, the reason for this lies in factory farming.

According to Greenpeace, pigs in particular are given excessive amounts of antibiotics. This would harden the germs against the drugs and pose a health threat to humans. The NGO is therefore demanding an ambitious and binding plan for the reduction of antibiotics in livestock farming from the Ministry of Health.

In the food chain

"With the contaminated meat we bring these dangerous germs to our homes", says Sebastian Theissing-Matei, agriculture spokesman for Greenpeace in Austria. 14 samples - schnitzel, minced meat, chops and chops - were analyzed, ten from Austrian supermarkets and four from wholesalers. Five of them were contaminated with the harmful germs MRSA or ESBL-producing E. coli. Both pathogens were even detected on two pieces of meat.

With factory farming, animals would be crammed together in a very small space, stand on unnatural floors and inflict wounds on each other. These conditions often make the animals sick - the use of antibiotics is correspondingly high, especially when fattening pigs. Around 74 percent of all antibiotics in Austrian livestock farming are administered to pigs, according to Greenpeace.

Rethink use

The World Health Organization has been warning of a "post-antibiotic age" for years if the excessive use of antibiotics in animal husbandry and in humans is not drastically reduced. In the EU alone, around 33,000 people die every year from antibiotic-resistant germs, according to Greenpeace. "The responsible Ministry of Health must no longer ignore this impending health crisis. It must finally get an ambitious and binding antibiotic reduction plan in place in livestock husbandry in motion," says Theissing-Matei. Above all, this requires better animal husbandry conditions. In addition, Austrian farmers should be supported in switching to better animal husbandry.

Organic as an alternative

Environmental doctor Hans-Peter Hutter, spokesman for Doctors for a Healthy Environment, also warns: "The test results are undoubtedly an alarm signal. After all, the germs detected are important human pathogens that are often the cause of highly problematic hospital infections." Greenpeace advises consumers to have good kitchen hygiene.

"Anyone who cooks with contaminated pork runs the risk of coming into contact with the resistant germs. In the worst case, this can lead to serious illness," warns Theissing-Matei. After coming into contact with raw meat, you should always wash your hands thoroughly and clean the cooking utensils. The meat should also always be cooked well. When buying, Greenpeace recommends choosing organic meat. (APA, May 21, 2019)