Potential for 'Super Bugs' in Meat, Dairy Products Alarms Regulators

super bugs
super bugs

Bacteria that cause food poisoning but are resistant to drugs pose a serious health hazard, say food regulators, and should be a national priority since these "super bugs" have not been effectively controlled.

At a one-day conference in Washington, D.C., co-sponsored by the nonprofit consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest and The Pew Charitable Trusts, food safety experts and officials agreed that decades-long misuse of antibiotics on the nation's farms has been largely responsible for the steady increase in e.coli, salmonella and other food-related outbreaks in recent years.

"The problem has clearly emerged with respect to some high-risk foods," said CSPI food safety director Caroline Smith DeWaal in a statement. "Both humans and animals rely on antibiotics to stay healthy. But overuse in some sectors may squander their effectiveness and leave consumers vulnerable to hard-to-treat foodborne infections."