Is Antibiotic Resistance Crawling Into a Home Near You?

This is not by any means the first time I’ve written to you about the problem of antibiotic resistance—nor is it the first time I’ve highlighted factory farming’s role in the growing disaster. But it may be the most shudder-worthy time.

I just finishing reading a study published in the January issue of the journal BMC Microbiology, that frankly made my skin crawl.

But first let me back up a bit and set the gruesome stage.

It’s a common practice on commercial pig farms to shoot up the livestock with antibiotics to (a) fight the diseases that run rampant in the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions under which the pigs are forced to live and (b) to promote faster weight gain. This practice has helped fuel the birth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria…so called superbugs…that have adapted to resist being killed by multiple antibiotics—thus making them a major threat to human health.

Strains of these bacteria—like the sometimes deadly antibiotic-resistant staph infection known as MRSA that’s routinely found in feedlot pigs and the workers who tend to them—have been popping up and spreading in the general population.

And it looks as if (a) runoff from factory farms and (b) the contaminated meats already on our grocery-store shelves aren’t the only paths these superbugs are taking into a neighborhood near you. According to new research from Kansas State University and North Carolina State University, these bugs may be literally hitching rides on…well…bugs.

As anyone who has had the displeasure of traveling anywhere close to a factory farm knows they are teaming with flying and crawling six-legged pests drawn to the massive amounts of manure the farms produce.

And according to researchers who conducted this study 90 percent of the roaches and flies they gathered from the areas around commercial hog farms were carriers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that had resistance to at least one—and often more than one—common antibiotic.

Yup, that’s right; it looks like antibiotic-resistant bacteria may be creeping, crawling, and flying its way into our communities and eventually our homes in the form of common household pests…shudder.

In the words of researcher Dr. Coby Schal, “Pest-management strategies are important…the fly at your picnic or roach scuttling across the living-room floor can be more than just a nuisance.”

(I think that thought is worth just one last shudder.)

So what the heck do we do about it? Well, to start with we can support our representatives in Washington who are calling for a law to ban non-therapeutic use of antibiotics on farms.

And do what you can to avoid supporting the practice of factory farming by choosing to purchase sustainable small-farm-produced grass-fed meats and dairy whenever possible and eating in restaurants that are committed to using local ingredients. To find locally grown, sustainable food in your area, visit

Now I’m sitting here dreading this summer’s fly season as I contemplate the old saying that, “God in His wisdom made the fly and then forgot to tell us why.”

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Alice Wessendorf

An enthusiastic believer in the power of natural healing, Alice has spent virtually her entire 17-year career in the natural-health publishing field helping to spread the word.

She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on  Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.

Follow Alice and HealthierTalk on Twitter.

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  1. Anonymous says

    Healthier Talk is amazingly helpful and informative and much appreciated. But, I keep wondering why there aren’t some buttons to click to TAKE ACTION on come of the really scary issues like factory farming, contaminated bugs, etc.

    Keep up the good work, and keep in mind there are probably lots of people like me that would welcome being able to participate in nudging our representatives, singing petitions, etc.


  2. Lori says

    Wanna read something REALLY scary?? Sorry, but we all need to realize what’s going on. Why don’t we know about this? This is a link to a letter written Jan 16, 2011 from Dr. Don Huber, professor emeritus at Purdue University to Tom Vilsack, secretary of agriculture. The topic is about a newly discovered organism (as yet unnamed) related to Roundup-Ready crops(and our friends Monsanto). Here’s just one quote: “This is highly sensitive information that could result in a collapse of US soy and corn export markets and significant disruption of domestic food and feed supplies.” And apparently, not only is this organism found in Roundup-Ready crops, but it appears to significantly increase plant diseases, decrease plant nutrients, and promote spontaneous abortions in exposed animals. With the approval of genetically modified alfalfa and sugar beets, conventional agriculture in this country is doomed. This is the real deal, folks. We’re the highest on the food chain. Americans eat this stuff…

  3. himagain says

    Remember the biblical plagues visited on Egypt? (Ref: Old Testament of the Jewish Talmud)
    As most fables are actually based on verbal history as we are slowly learning today, and that history repeats itself monotonously (you should read some Indian fables/history – no not American, the real Indians).
    Replace Egypt with the USA, Moses with Ron Paul, the “captivity” of the Jews with Hoescht/Monsanto Corporate Profits insanity and you stuck there in the USA and there you have it – all over again.

    Only this time, it might be too late for the King Chemicals to relent. We have nowhere else to go. GMO is in Tibet, too.

    Oh, remember the Biblical flood? The actual story is much, much older than the Jewish/Christian chronicles and seems to be a fairly regular occurrence in conjunction with Ice Ages ……
    85% of today’s population and manufacturing capacity is right near the water/floodline…..

    It is all a bit too much….. think I’ll go have a big drink of auto-medicating water and take a nap – Fluoride is cheaper than the commercial versions of Prozac (r) etc. and it stops you thinking too much as it rots your brain.

  4. Helen says


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