The US meat industry has created a serious threat — antibiotic resistant bacteria.  From a PR perspective, it could hardly be more dangerous because it strikes at the root of growing, processing and selling protein.  The industry has criticized the study that spotlights the problem but that won’t be enough to assuage the concerns of millions of consumers.  Meat-growers have to show that antibiotics benefit consumers in some way that overcomes fears of drug-resistant bacteria.  Or, the industry has to stop using antibiotics, as some growers and processors have done.  Food retailers have been quick to label meats that are antibiotic-free and are giving consumers the choice of purchasing them.  Shoppers will vote with their pocketbooks, and farmers and processors will have to follow if they wish to stay in business. Rather than being forced to change, wiser ranchers and processors will do it voluntarily.  Listening to customers and anticipating their concerns will be better and healthier for all.

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