A recent study conducted at the USDA Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, NE, found the microbial flora and antibiotic resistance levels were similar in both conventionally produced ground beef and ground beef from cattle raised without antibiotics. Study authors said the results were consistent with prior research demonstrating the long-term resistance impacts of antibiotic use in U.S. beef cattle production are minimal. They suggested the findings prove ground beef from cattle raised without antibiotics do not deliver the major perceived benefit of lower antibiotic resistance levels than ground beef from conventional production.
According to USDA, antimicrobial resistance naturally occurs in bacteria and far predates human existence. USDA Ag Research Service studies show antibiotic resistant bacteria are present in all soils, regardless of whether it has been grazed by animals.