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Meat with antibiotics off the menu at some hospitals

Chicago Tribune, July 19, 2010

Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago is one of 300 across the nation that have pledged to improve the quality and sustainability of the food they serve, not just for the health of their patients but, they say, the health of the environment and the U.S. population.For many of these institutions, the initiative includes buying antibiotic-free meats. Administrators say they hope increased demand for those products will reduce the use of antibiotics to treat cattle and other animals, which scientists believe helps pathogens become more resistant to drugs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that antibiotic-resistant infections kill 60,000 Americans a year. Although the U.S. doesn't keep national records on antibiotic use in animals, the Pew Charitable Trusts estimate that up to 70% of all antibiotics used in the U.S. are administered to healthy animals to speed growth and compensate for crowded living conditions.