On the day that chefs served the first-ever in vitro burger, it’s worth remembering the threat to human health posed by growing consumption of meat. Eighty percent of all antibiotics (by weight) in the US are used on farm animals. This can have appalling consequences as a May 2013 piece in the Chicago Tribune highlighted. It’s so bad that 81 percent of turkey sold in the US is now contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The meat industry is furiously resisting any changes in regulations and seems to have the Food & Drug Administration on side. The FDA says only that the use of antibiotics as growth promoters is “injudicious”. Mother Jones is a partial and sometimes inaccurate source but it did well in this April 2013 article.

If we think the situation is bad in the US, the situation may be four times as bad in China and deteriorating rapidly as traditional farming is displaced by more industrial methods. At least Chinese authorities are moving to address part of the issue. India introduced new regulations in 2012 but it’s not clear whether they are being well enforced.

The market may yet bring a solution according to this June 2013 article from International Business Times

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