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Talk Back: Drug-resistant staph in meat and consumer responsibility -- where's the line?

April 16, 2011|By Tami Dennis, HealthKey
  • If the meat industry is responsible at least in part for contributing to antibiotic resistance, are consumers ultimately to blame?
If the meat industry is responsible at least in part for contributing to… (Stephen Osman / Los Angeles…)

The problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has long been blamed on uninformed patients and overly permissive doctors. And as a society, we've begun to take responsibility for what our love affair with bacteria-killing drugs has wrought.

We've learned (many of us) to ask for antibiotics only if we truly need them. And, if we truly need them, to take them as directed -- and to take the full course. But drug resistance may not be the sole fault of uninformed patients and overly permissive doctors.

A new study bolsters the theory that some antibiotic resistance stems from the drugs' use in agriculture. If the meat industry is trying to respond to Americans' insatiable demand for cheap meat, and no doubt it is, perhaps the  responsibility should be shared.

What should consumers do? 


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