I had the privilege of attending the Greater Seattle Area Dietetic Association‘s (GSDA) Fall Conference on Saturday. The conference was hosted at the most quintessential Seattle icon: Pike Place Market.
It was great to meet a few other nutrition students in the Seattle area, and I learned a lot of interesting information from the speakers. Since a few of you have expressed interest in hearing (well, reading) what I’m learning about, I hope you enjoy the recap below.
↑ I bought these for $5. Only $5!
Greater Seattle Dietetics Association Fall Conference Recap
Our food system is broken. And the only way to change it is to educate ourselves and inspire others to do the same. For the most part, our food culture has become one of:
This poses a challenge for many public health professionals, but luckily the food movement is starting to change the way we view (and prepare) food. [Not familiar with the food movement? Check out this post.]
One of the speakers at the conference, Jenna Newbrey, MBA, RD, brought up a problem with our current food system that I haven’t heard or thought much about: antibiotic resistance.
Introducing the problem
Bacteria are becoming more resistant to antibiotics, in part due to our agricultural system. We feed our animals antibiotics to promote slightly faster growth and compensate for poor animal husbandry.
Many of the antibiotics administered to animals are the same as the antibiotics that are administered to humans.
It is estimated the 70% of the total antibiotics consumed in the United States are used as feed additives for poultry, swine, and beef cattle (1). Just 15% of the total use is for humans.
Why is this a problem?
The overuse of antibiotics leads to superbugs that infect humans and cannot be treated with typical antibiotics.
For example: UTI’s are typically treated with floroquinolones, a class that includes the human-use antibiotic Cipro; however, according to WHO, resistance to floroquinolones is now widespread (2) and the treatment of UTI’s require strong, broad-spectrum antibiotics that often cause nausea, loss of appetite, etc.
What is being done?
In March 2015, legislation addressing antibiotic use with farm animals was introduced in both the House and Senate. In March 2015, USDA awarded nearly $7M in grant money for antimicrobial resistance strategies to ensure a safe and nutritious food supply, while maintaining American agricultural competitiveness. (4)
The CDC states,
Preventing the spread of antibiotic resistance can only be achieved with widespread engagement, especially among leaders in clinical medicine, healthcare leadership, agriculture, and public health.3
But what about us?
We, as consumers, have the power to support a better food system every time we go to the grocery store or order a meal at a restaurant. Our purchases drive demand, which in turn drive supply.
If you want to read more about this subject, visit this website.
So there you have it – a snippet of the kind of information that I have the privilege of learning about now. I love it! I went home and watched Food, Inc. and I will say, that despite what I wrote about a few months ago, I’m considering cutting meat out of my diet again, or at least keeping it to a minimum.
- How was your weekend? Did you bust out the winter jackets?
- Have you seen Food, Inc? // What is your favorite ‘foodie’ documentary?
- Have you been to Pike Place Market?
- Any carnivores, pescatarians, vegetarians or vegans out there who switched from one diet to the other?
Want to learn more?
Check out this site: http://www.keepantibioticsworking.com/