Study: Benefits of antibiotics in chickens may outweigh the risks


ST. PAUL, Minn. – The potential benefits to human health associated with the use of antibiotics in chicken may outweigh the potential risks, according to a risk-benefit analysis conducted by a team of researchers led by Randall S. Singer, of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.
Healthier meat. Recent studies have shown that antibiotic use in animal production results in healthier animals, and the meat derived from these healthier animals has lower levels of bacteria that can cause food-borne illness in people.
Other evidence indicates however, the use of antibiotics also has the potential to increase the level of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in meat.
The researchers developed a mathematical model to evaluate the potential human health risks and benefits of the use of the antibiotic, tylosin, in chickens.
They compared the potential risks associated with increased levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in meat with the potential benefits associated with decreased risk of food-borne illness.
A problem. “Antibiotic resistance is a problem in both human medicine and animal production agriculture,” Singer said.
“But our model demonstrated that the reduced number of infections and illness days associated with the use of tylosin in chicken far exceeded the increased human health risks associated with antibiotic resistance due to tylosin use.”


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