New study claims organic farms may have lower levels of drug-resistant bacteria

A new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives shows that organic farms have lower levels of drug-resistant enterococci bacteria in livestock.

A new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives from the University of Maryland shows that organic farms have lower levels of drug-resistant enterococci bacteria in livestock.

According to the study, researcher Amy Sapkota and her team looked at 10 regular poultry farms and 10 newly organic poultry houses. Sapokta and her colleagues tested for enterococci bacteria in poultry litter, feed, and water. The study also reported that resistance was tested in 17 common antimicrobials.

"We initially thought we would see some differences in on-farm levels of antibiotic-resistant enterococci when poultry farms transitioned to organic practices," said Amy Sapkota in a statement. "But we were surprised to see that the differences were so significant across several different classes of antibiotics even in the very first flock of birds that was produced after the transition to organic standards," Sapkota said. "It is very encouraging."

Rob Stein from The Washington Post reported:

67 percent of enterococcus faecalis from conventional farms were resistant to the drug erythromycin compared to 18 percent of the organisms from the organic farms

According to the study, results found:

Our findings suggest that the voluntary removal of antibiotics from large-scale U.S. poultry farms that transition to organic practices is associated with a lower prevalence of antibiotic-resistant and MDR Enterococcus.

Food for thought: Even though each of the farms tested positive for bacteria, the ones that were organic were less likely to pass on antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

via University of Maryland

via NPR

Image: via University of Maryland

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