A recent broadcast by BBC , looked into antibiotic resistance in the food chain. The report was based on the findings of the agencies laboratory which carried out the testing for levels of antibiotic resistant bacteria found in chicken.
Using these results the programme asserted various links between the use of antibiotics in farming, levels of resistant bacteria found in the chicken samples and human illness. Any antibiotic resistance, particularly any bacteria in our food that are multi-resistant to antibiotics used in clinical care, is an area of work that has been monitored by researchers and organizations like the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the Advisory Committee for the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) and the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for many years.
BBC officials said they would like to reassure viewers of the programme that most people who suffer from bacterial food poisoning, although experiencing an unpleasant illness, will make a full recovery and will not need any antibiotic treatment and the fact that food poisoning bacteria are resistant to antibiotics in itself will not make their infection more serious. Antibiotics are usually only prescribed for the more serious effects of food poisoning, that is , when the bacteria get into the blood stream, which is not common. In such cases if a patient's infection does not respond to the first antibiotic treatment prescribed then testing will usually be carried out to establish if the bacteria are resistant and a different antibiotic will be prescribed.
The development of antibiotic resistance is an inevitable consequence of the use of antibiotics in both animals and humans. Stopping the use of antibiotics is not feasible in a world where people and animals continue to contract infections, and would result in unacceptable suffering. Thus researchers say the careful use of antibiotics is the key in controlling levels of resistance and emphasise that unnecessary antibiotic use should be avoided in both humans and animals.
The programme has also showed that it is important to remember that food poisoning can be avoided by following good food hygiene practices. Which include washing ones hands before and after preparing food and handling raw meat; thoroughly cooking food and reheating leftovers properly; preparing raw and cooked foods separately; storing food correctly and following a good standard of hygiene in your kitchen. The same recommendations apply for food prepared in restaurants and take-away establishments.