One of the world’s largest banks has issued a dire warning about the future of food safety.
According to the global research team at HSBC, the use of antibiotics in meat production could have “devastating” consequences for humanity.
When farmers feed antibiotics to their animals, they create antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which can lead to antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” in humans. Over time, this could make it difficult to treat even common infections like strep throat.
The report’s authors liken the impact of antibiotic resistance to climate change: The causation may not be immediately clear, but the evidence suggests a catastrophic future.
While some of this is related to the overprescribing of antibiotics by doctors, it also has to do with the antibiotics that are fed to key sources of produce, such as chickens, cows, and pigs. According to the report, more than half of global antibiotics are used in agriculture rather than medicine.
Although China accounts for 60% of the world’s agricultural antibiotics, the US also uses antibiotics in around 70% of its agricultural products.