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Chicken-Carrying Trucks Leave Trail of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Thursday, December 18, 2008 by: Reuben Chow
Tags: chickens, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Chickens which are raised commercially for meat are nowadays fed antibiotics to fend off infections and illnesses. This is a practice which is criticized in many quarters because it can encourage bacteria to mutate and become drug-resistant. In the long run, this could pose a health risk to human beings. And a recent study conducted by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has found that trucks carrying chickens to processing facilities could be releasing more than just chicken odor they could be leaving a trail of potentially harmful bacteria in the air.

The study team had tailed ten poultry trucks on US 13, down the Delmarva Peninsula, in the summer and autumn of 2007. Turning off their air conditioning and winding down their windows, the researchers followed about two to three car lengths behind the vehicles.

The not so good news is that the study team collected increased levels of bacteria both in and on their car. And this included certain bacteria which were resistant to antibiotics used on humans. When they drove on the same roads again while the chicken trucks were not around, they did not find the bacteria.

The National Chicken Council, not unexpectedly, reacted unhappily, calling the study "unfocused, unrealistic and rather unsafe". Steve Pretanik, director of science and technology of the organization, also criticized the research team for "tailgating" the chicken vehicles, arguing that not many motorists would follow that closely behind the trucks anyway.

While, according to Pretanik, only two strains of the Enterococcus bacterium found by the study team could be harmful to humans, and most drivers would keep their windows up while on the road, the findings of this study, which was published in the Journal of Infection and Public Health, has broader implications. While previous research had reported the increased risk of exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria for chicken industry workers and members of the public who physically handle live, raw or inadequately cooked poultry, this study suggests that the effects of contamination could in fact be wider.

The fact is that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are coming from the trucks. "If it's getting into the car, it's getting into the environment. There are people living along that road. The next thing we would like to test is how the trucks are impacting the community," said Ana Rule, a Bloomberg research associate as well as the leader of the study.

The findings of this study is another example of the long line of environmental and health dangers posed by commercial meat farming today. In terms of exactly how extensive bacteria from chickens are polluting surrounding areas, further research on the subject is definitely needed.

In the meantime, if you live along a road frequented by chicken trucks, or drive often on such roads the Delmarva Peninsula is said to be one area of intense poultry production you may want to take note and perhaps make some changes to reduce your exposure to these potentially dangerous bacteria.

Main Source
Study ties chicken trucks to bacteria (http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-m...)

About the author

Reuben Chow has a keen interest in natural health and healing as well as personal growth. His website, All 4 Natural Health, offers a basic guide on natural health information. It details simple, effective and natural ways, such as the use of nutrition, various herbs, herb remedies, supplements and other natural remedies, to deal with various health conditions as well as to attain good health. His other websites also cover topics such as depression help, omega 3 fatty acids, as well as cancer research and information.

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