Superbugs found in Lidl chicken claim campaigners

I have taken the headline from The Times newspaper. This is a claim by campaigners but they’ve done their research very thoroughly.

Superbugs have been found in more than 50% of Lidl chicken products as tested by campaigners at a German laboratory.

The argument is that farmers are treating their livestock with antibiotics far too generously which creates a resistance by bacteria to antibiotics which creates superbugs.

Superbug found in Lidl chicken claim campaigners
Superbug found in Lidl chicken claim campaigners

RELATED: UK farmers still overusing antibiotics and legislation is needed to stop it – click on the link to read a story very relevant to this one. The overuse of antibiotics is damaging the farming industry and jeopardising the health of animals and humans alike.

And I would like to throw my hat into the ring here on another issue which is that in my view veterinarians tend to overprescribe and administer antibiotics to companion animals as patients because they play safe. Sometimes they can’t tell the difference between a viral or bacterial infection and therefore they treat the animal with antibiotics. Usually there is no “cure” for a viral infection and therefore all they can do is administer antibiotics which I think is dangerous because in the long term it can create superbugs.

In this particular story, The Times reminds us that animal welfare groups and scientists have been concerned for a long time about the use of antibiotics as a proactive step in order to keep livestock healthy. They say that it leads to bacteria which is resistant to antimicrobial drugs.

In this instance, the campaigning group is Open Cages. They bought 40 chicken products from five branches of Lidl. The products were sold under the Birchwood brand. As mentioned, they were tested in a German laboratory.

Of the 40 products tested, 23 tested positive for bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics. These included the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which can lead to serious infections. The tests also revealed extended-spectrum beta-lactamases.

The tests revealed that 19 of the chicken products had E. coli. This is not a superbug but it can lead to harmful infections. There is currently a news media story circulating on the Internet about E. coli infections affecting people in Britain.

Although it has to be said that the above-mentioned results do not imply that there is a specific health risk to consumers. What this is saying is that these superbugs found in Lidl products won’t necessarily harm people but nonetheless it is concerning because of the basic principle of the over prescription of antibiotics.

The co-founder of Open Cages, Connor Jackson, a group lobbying against factory farming, said: “There is no specific benchmark on what is too high. The point of these findings is they are extremely high.”

A coalition of animal welfare groups called Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics, said to their spokesperson: “Fast-growing breeds of chicken should be phased out. They have much worse health and welfare and are more likely to need antibiotic treatments.”

Lidl were contacted to respond to these claims. They said: “Food safety is a priority for our business and all products are subject to extensive quality controls throughout the supply chain. Our own testing shows that in the last 12 months there have been no micro-related deviations outside of legal levels, and no concerns have been raised to us by any regulatory bodies.”

Comment: that would seem to say that they might be accepting that there are superbugs in their chicken products but they are within the legal limits and therefore safe to be consumed which, they argue, has been supported by the fact that there have been no concerns raised by any regulatory bodies.

RELATED: Farmers gassing pigs should be arrested and charged not animal activists

1 thought on “Superbugs found in Lidl chicken claim campaigners”

  1. A long-running topic. We have known for ages that the overprescription of antibiotics particularly as a proactive measure to try and keep livestock healthy is short-sighted. It is a dangerous policy but indicative of humankind’s short-termism.

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