For half a century, meat producers have fed antibiotics to farm animals to increase their growth and stave off infections. Now scientists have discovered that those drugs are sprouting up in unexpected places.
Vegetables such as corn, potatoes and lettuce absorb antibiotics when grown in soil fertilized with livestock manure, according to tests conducted at the University of Minnesota.The Minnesota researchers planted corn, green onion and cabbage in manure-treated soil... Six weeks later, the crops were analyzed and found to absorb chlortetracycline, a drug widely used to treat diseases in livestock. In another study in 2007, corn, lettuce and potato were planted in soil treated with liquid hog manure. They, too, accumulated concentrations of an antibiotic, named Sulfamethazine, also commonly used in livestock...
Today, close to 70 percent of the total antibiotics and related drugs produced in the United States are fed to cattle, pigs and poultry... “Around 90 percent of these drugs that are administered to animals end up being excreted either as urine or manure... A vast majority of that manure is then used as an important input for 9.2 million hectares of (U.S.) agricultural land.”
(Image and text credit to Environmental Health News)