Food Industry cockroach

Published on January 31st, 2011 | by Rachel Shulman


Insects from Industrial Farms Can Spread Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

Most of you have probably already heard how excessive antibiotic use on industrial farms is breeding bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. One such ‘superbug’ is Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, a multi-drug resistant species that kills 20,000 Americans every year.

Tainted meat is a well-known culprit for spreading superbugs to humans, but now there’s a new way that humans can become infected: via insects.

A recent study suggests that common household insects can transmit antibiotic resistant bacteria from pigs to humans.

The researchers found that flies and cockroaches collected on industrial pig farms were infected with the same types of bacteria found in pig feces. Several strains of common gut bacteria in these insects were found to be frequently resistant to tetracycline, erythromycin, streptomycin, and kanamycin – common antibiotics used to treat human infections.

Industrial farms are breeding grounds for insects that feed on animal waste. Since flies and cockroaches are extremely mobile, they can transport antibiotic resistant bacteria from the farms to surrounding residential areas, and potentially transmit these bacteria to humans.

Image courtesy of via slinky2000 a Creative Commons license.

Keep up with the latest sustainable food news by signing up for our free newsletter. CLICK HERE to sign up!

Tags: , , , , , ,

About the Author

I'm an ecologist turned journalist turned farmer-in-training. I'm currently working on an organic farm and creamery in Illinois. Follow me on twitter (, friend me on Facebook (!/profile.php?id=3105709), or follow me on StumbleUpon (

One Response to Insects from Industrial Farms Can Spread Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Insects from Industrial Farms Can Spread Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria – Eat Drink Better --

Back to Top ↑
  • Let’s Connect!

  • Advertisements

  • Popular Posts & Pages

    Whether you are looking to completely give up animal products or just want to try eating vegan some of the time, we want to support you! Below, you’ll find articles answering some common questions about vegan cooking and nutrition. If you don’t see your question answered below, please get in touch with us! We are happy to investigate for you!

    Find out what's in season now, plus get plenty of recipe inspiration to help you make the most of every season's beautiful, local fare.

    I love infographics. When I came across this one about what, how, and when to plant vegetables, I thought I’d share. Keep reading after the pic for a few of my own lessons learned.

    Putting a healthy meal together can be difficult on a busy weeknight. These quick, easy, healthy meals make even weeknight cooking a breeze.

    Looking for an all vegan grocery store? Even if you’re not lucky enough to have one in your town, there are lots of online options for vegan grocery shopping.

  • Advertisements

  • Search the IM Network

  • The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by, and do not necessarily represent the views of Sustainable Enterprises Media, Inc., its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.