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Food and Food Animals

About Food and Antibiotic Resistance

The American food supply is among the safest in the world, but people can still get sick from foodborne infections or from having contact with food animals. These infections can be caused by antibiotic-resistant germs. For example, two bacteria commonly spread through food—Salmonella and Campylobacter—make more than 400,000 Americans sick with antibiotic-resistant infections every year, according to CDC’s 2013 AR Threats Report. Additionally, antibiotics are valuable tools for treating infections, but using antibiotics can lead to antibiotic-resistant infections in people and animals. This includes using antibiotics for human and animal health.

Read more about the connection between antibiotic resistance and food on the Food webpage, or on CDC’s Food Safety website.

What CDC is Doing

CDC is working to detect, respond, contain, and prevent resistant foodborne infections by, for example:

  • Increasing state laboratory capacity to rapidly uncover foodborne drug-resistant bacteria, including Campylobacter, E. coli, and Salmonella, using whole genome sequencing
  • Protecting communities by rapidly identifying drug-resistant foodborne bacteria to stop and solve outbreaks and improve prevention
  • Using data from outbreaks to increase understanding of resistance related foodborne bacteria and continually improve food safety
  • Helping veterinarians have the tools, information, and training around antibiotic use
  • Supporting the important work that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture are doing to improve antibiotic use in veterinary medicine and agriculture

This work complements additional CDC antibiotic resistance investments, collectively known as CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance (AR) Solutions Initiative. Through these investments, CDC is transforming how the nation combats and slows antibiotic resistance at all levels.

Printable Fact Sheets

Find more AR Solutions Initiative materials on the Fact Sheets and Graphics webpage.