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Business Of Agriculture: Poultry Farmers Must Heed Public Health Warning
By Mike Archer. Friday’s news report that BC poultry producers have been warned to stop using bovine antibiotics on chickens must be taken seriously by the poultry industry in the Fraser Valley.
The report, in the Vancouver Sun, says the Public Health Agency of Canada believes “… the practice is behind a significant spike in drug-resistant Campylobacter bacteria found in chicken tested from grocery stores.”
Since the bacteria are resistant to antibiotics used to treat respiratory infections in humans their appearance in grocery store chicken is highly worrisome. Though thorough cooking is reported to kill the bacterium, the new report also indicates that human beings who contract the drug-resistant bacteria “… can become more severely ill with diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain …”
The antibiotic, normally only used in cattle, was introduced to poultry stock in order in order to prevent salmonella. But government regulations are strict about its use in animals other than cattle and insist on veterinary supervision. The warning issued Friday extends to veterinarians.
This is serious issue which must be treated as such by local poultry farmers. The issue of antibiotic-resistant bacteria getting into the human food chain is becoming more serious in the of disease treatment in humans. One of the primary assumptions families make in shopping for food is that the food will not harm them or their children.
When the additive being used to control one harmful side effect of mass breeding leads to another, farmers are in a difficult position. However, if we are to have faith in our food supply we must know that the rules are being followed.