Link found between food allergies and farm antibiotics

All the more reason, when at all possible, to eat organic meat…

Food allergies affect an estimated 15 million Americans, including one in 13 children. Statistics indicate something strange is afoot, as food allergies in children rose by 50 percent between 1997 and 2011 alone.

Similarly, in Great Britain one in three people are allergic to something, be it pollen, dust mites, or food. Previous research has drawn parallels between the rise in allergies and increased antibiotic and antimicrobial use. One study showed exposure to antibiotics early in life increased the risk of eczema in children by 40 percent.

Other research has shown how genetically engineered foods and the use of the agricultural herbicide glyphosate destroys gut bacteria, thereby promoting allergies.

According to one recent study, common gut bacteria called Clostridia specifically help prevent sensitization to food allergens. In short, by destroying gut bacteria and altering your microbiome, agricultural chemicals like glyphosate can play a significant role in creating food allergies.

Antibiotic Pesticides Can Cause Allergic Reactions

But glyphosate is not the only culprit. Part of what makes glyphosate so harmful is the fact that it has antibiotic action, and antibiotics are also part of other pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides.

Researchers now claim to have identified the first case in which a serious allergic reaction was traced to an antibiotic pesticide. In this case, a 10-year old girl suffered a severe allergic reaction to blueberry pie.

The culprit turned out to be a streptomycin-containing pesticide that had been applied to the blueberries. According to lead author Dr. Anne Des Roches, this is “the first report that links an allergic reaction to fruits treated with antibiotic pesticides.”

As noted by allergist Dr. James Sublett, “This is a very rare allergic reaction. Nevertheless, it’s something allergists need to be aware of and that emergency room personnel may need to know about in order to help determine where anaphylactic reactions may arise.”

He goes on to recommend that anyone at risk of allergies should carry epinephrine, and know how to use it. While that’s certainly good advice for acute reactions, it’s not really an ideal long-term answer.

Truly, anyone suffering from food sensitivities or allergies would be wise to reconsider the kinds of foods they eat, and I don’t mean simply avoiding foods known to cause a reaction. Ultimately, your best bet is to switch to an all-organic diet.

This is particularly important for young children and pregnant women, but I really believe this is the answer for everyone, whether you’re prone to allergies or not.

Making Healthier Choices Can Reduce Your Allergy Risk

If you are eating any factory farmed and mass-processed meats, you are not only getting antibiotics but also many bacteria that are resistant to them. And if the meat is not cooked properly you can become infected with these antibiotic resistant bugs. The only way to avoid antibiotics in your food is to make sure you’re eating organic produce and organically-raised, grass-fed or pastured meats and animal products.

Along with cultured or fermented foods, eating plenty of whole, unprocessed, unsweetened foods will also optimize your gut microbiome. (You may also want to consider a high-potency probiotic supplement, but realize that there is no substitute for the real food.) To source pure, healthful meats and fresh produce, your best option is to get to know a local farmer who uses non-toxic farming methods. If you live in an urban area, there are increasing numbers of community-supported agriculture programs available that offer access to healthy, locally grown foods even if you live in the heart of the city.

Resources to Find Healthy Food on Any Budget

Being able to find high-quality meat is such an important issue for me personally that I’ve made connections with sources I know provide high-quality organic grass-fed beef and free-range chicken, both of which you can find in my online store. You can eliminate the shipping charges, however, if you find a trusted farmer locally. If you live in the US, the following organizations can also help you locate farm-fresh foods:

Weston Price Foundation, Local Harvest, Farmers’ Markets, Eat Well Guide: Wholesome Food from Healthy Animals, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), and FoodRoutes.

Even the underprivileged may be able to obtain fresh, locally-grown produce at their local food pantry, provided the food pantry accepts fresh food donations. Tens of millions of home gardeners throw away food from their gardens while their neighbors go hungry. addresses the twin problems of hunger and food waste by connecting growers and gardeners with local food pantries. While there’s no guarantee that donated produce will be organic, many gardeners do employ organic principles.’s database will tell you where the nearest food pantry accepting fresh foods is. launched in 2009, and today has a database of nearly 7,000 participating food pantries across the nation—one out of every five food pantries has signed up. It’s a fantastic resource that has the potential to change the lives of many who simply cannot afford to buy fresh produce.

By Dr. Mercola