Knowledge for better food systems

Paper: organic poultry production and antibiotic resistance

This study finds that the prevalance of antibiotic resistance bacteria in poultry farms that have switched to organic methods is lower than in conventional farms.

Reference and shortened abstract as follows: Sapkota A R, Hulet R M, Zhang G, McDermott P, Kinney E, Schwab K and Joseph S W (2011). Lower Prevalence of Antibiotic-resistant Enterococci On U.S. Conventional Poultry Farms That Transitioned to Organic Practices. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2011; DOI:

Background: In U.S. conventional poultry production, antimicrobials are used for therapeutic, prophylactic and non-therapeutic purposes. Researchers have shown that this can select for antibiotic-resistant commensal and pathogenic bacteria on poultry farms and poultry-derived products. However, no U.S. studies have investigated on-farm changes in resistance as conventional poultry farms transition to organic practices and cease using antibiotics.

Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant Enterococcus on U.S. conventional poultry farms that transitioned to organic practices.

Methods: Poultry litter, feed, and water samples were collected from 10 conventional and 10 newly organic poultry houses in 2008 and tested for Enterococcus.

Results: Litter, feed and water samples were Enterococcus-positive. The percentages of resistant E. faecalis and resistant E. faecium were significantly lower (p<0.05) among isolates from newly organic versus conventional houses for two (erythromycin and tylosin) and five (ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, nitrofurantoin, penicillin and tetracycline) antimicrobials, respectively. Forty-two percent of E. faecalis isolates from conventional poultry houses were multi-drug resistant (MDR) (to≥3 antimicrobial classes) compared to 10% of isolates from newly organic houses (p=0.02), and 84% of E. faecium isolates from conventional houses were MDR compared to 17% of isolates from newly organic poultry houses (p<0.001).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the voluntary removal of antibiotics from large-scale U.S. poultry farms that transition to organic practices is associated with a lower prevalence of antibiotic-resistant and MDR Enterococcus.

The paper is available open access here, Ahead of Print (AOP), and you can also see an article about it in ScienceDaily here.

This study finds that the prevalance of antibiotic resistance bacteria in poultry farms that have switched to organic methods is lower than in conventional farms.

Reference and shortened abstract as follows: Sapkota A R, Hulet R M, Zhang G, McDermott P, Kinney E, Schwab K and Joseph S W (2011). Lower Prevalence of Antibiotic-resistant Enterococci On U.S. Conventional Poultry Farms That Transitioned to Organic Practices. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2011; DOI:

Background: In U.S. conventional poultry production, antimicrobials are used for therapeutic, prophylactic and non-therapeutic purposes. Researchers have shown that this can select for antibiotic-resistant commensal and pathogenic bacteria on poultry farms and poultry-derived products. However, no U.S. studies have investigated on-farm changes in resistance as conventional poultry farms transition to organic practices and cease using antibiotics.

Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant Enterococcus on U.S. conventional poultry farms that transitioned to organic practices.

Methods: Poultry litter, feed, and water samples were collected from 10 conventional and 10 newly organic poultry houses in 2008 and tested for Enterococcus.

Results: Litter, feed and water samples were Enterococcus-positive. The percentages of resistant E. faecalis and resistant E. faecium were significantly lower (p<0.05) among isolates from newly organic versus conventional houses for two (erythromycin and tylosin) and five (ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, nitrofurantoin, penicillin and tetracycline) antimicrobials, respectively. Forty-two percent of E. faecalis isolates from conventional poultry houses were multi-drug resistant (MDR) (to≥3 antimicrobial classes) compared to 10% of isolates from newly organic houses (p=0.02), and 84% of E. faecium isolates from conventional houses were MDR compared to 17% of isolates from newly organic poultry houses (p<0.001).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the voluntary removal of antibiotics from large-scale U.S. poultry farms that transition to organic practices is associated with a lower prevalence of antibiotic-resistant and MDR Enterococcus.

The paper is available open access here, Ahead of Print (AOP), and you can also see an article about it in ScienceDaily here.

 

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