antibiotics

The Next Penicillin May Come From Sloths

Scientists marvel at what grows on sloth hair

Scientists marvel at what grows on a sloth's outer coat.

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Earlier today, the House Rules Committee held a hearing on whether farm animals are getting too many antibiotics for their own good. Ever since 1951, the year the FDA approved the addition of penicillin and tetracycline to chicken feed, it's been common for livestock animals to get pumped full of antibiotics to ward off disease and promote growth. The practice may have had a certain logic in the early years.

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What if free-range pork, grown without antibiotics, actually posed more of a health risk than pork produced on industrial farms? That’s what James McWilliams suggested last week in an a New York Times op-ed, in which he discusses a study by an Ohio State University researcher who found that pigs raised in free-range, antibiotic-free environments tested positive for three food-borne pathogens—salmonella, toxoplasma, and trichinella—at significantly higher rates than their conventionally raised cousins.

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