CDC warns of long-term health impact of eating cheap meat

CDC warns of long-term health impact of eating cheap meatWhen just looking at the situation on the outside, many people say there is no reason to question factory-farmed meat. The process involves using inexpensive animals, raising them at the bare minimum cost, butchering them as cheaply as can be done, and then sell them at the lowest prices on the market. Although the public is supplied with cheaper meats, there are long-term health costs that could make the deal even more expensive than anyone has ever imagined.

There are obvious health concerns, such as hypertension, high cholesterol, cardiac problems and so forth, but the biggest concern is caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In a recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control, it is estimated that 2 million people across America fall victim to antibiotic-resistant infections annually. Records say 23,000 of those infected die from them.

These outbreaks are impacted by our overreliant behavior toward antibiotics. Every time a doctor prescribes antibiotics to a patient, the bacteria in the patient’s body become more tolerable of them. These germs that are antibiotic-resistant can then be passed to others, leading harder to attack infections to spread. The result is more physician visits, more hospital stays, more prescriptions and overall, more expense.

While many argue the problem is the result of doctors overprescribing antibiotics, others point toward food, which contains antibiotics, as the culprit. The CDC indicates most often, antibiotics are found in meat.

While cutting costs, factory farms crowd animals together in small pens. When animals are cramped together, they suffer wounds and stand in feces, creating bacterial infection breeding grounds. One way to cut back on animals becoming sick is to give them antibiotics. The meat industry currently uses 80 percent of all antibiotics that are consumed in the U.S., according to reports. All those drugs keep the animals disease free and result in cheaper meat, but in the long run, the customer pays more. One estimate indicates using antibiotics on the farm can save the average meat eater $5 to $10 annually. Those minor savings can mean more cost in the long run. Sloppy slaughtering can let antibiotic-resistant bacteria from the colons and stomachs of the animals contaminate the meat.

The end result can mean more medical expenses in the long run for those who opt for the cheaper meat. So, just because the public thinks they are saving money it doesn’t mean they are cutting costs in the long run.

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About the author

Ryan Burgas is a regular contributor covering business and finance topics.