Antibiotic Use In Pork Is On The Rise, & That's Incredibly Bad News For The Billions Of Bacon-Lovers Out There

Here's a fun fact about everyone's favorite pork product: Bacon is so incredibly popular worldwide that, in order to meet the demands of the masses, farmers are injecting antibiotics into meat at alarming rates. It's common knowledge that mass use of antibiotics in poultry is as ubiquitous as our consumption of chicken itself, but adding similar treatment to pork has created a spike in adulterated bacon and pork products. Now pork packs as much as four times more antibiotics than its beef counterpart. What does that mean for consumers?

In an attempt to strengthen the herd to feed the people, such mass use of antibiotics is potential prime evolutionary grounds for the development of a super bug that could affect humans and allegedly kill up to 10 million people in the next few decades. According to a Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study, a total of 63,151 tons of antibiotics were injected into poultry, beef, and pork throughout the world in 2010 alone. That number has only continued to increase as countries like China see an increase in wealthier households who are able to consistently afford meat, a relatively expensive grocery expense otherwise. Says the study's authors:

We project that antimicrobial consumption will rise by 67 percent by 2030, and nearly double in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. This rise is likely to be driven by the growth in consumer demand for livestock products in middle-income countries and a shift to large-scale farms where antimicrobials are used routinely. Our findings call for initiatives to preserve antibiotic effectiveness while simultaneously ensuring food security in low- and lower-middle-income countries.
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Simply put, the world's embrace of all-bacon-everything has made the demand for meat a dangerous proposition to the future of humanity and factory farming. Fifty percent of all pigs live in China, a country that has zero regulations regarding the use of antibiotics in farming. Only the European Union has been successful in banning the use of such antibiotics and hormones. The United States is attempting to follow suit but it could take years before effective, mandatory regulations are put in place.

For those seeking antibiotic-free bacon and other meats, it's possible to buy conscientiously without breaking the bank, though more affordable grocery stores like Food4Less and Save-a-lot offer no such options. Stores with healthful reputations like Trader Joe's and Publix offer as much as 191 antibiotic-free meat options, bacon being one of them.Images: Getty Images (1)