Antibiotic Resistant Superbugs: The Chicken That Threw Me a Change-Up


According to FDA data, the quantity of antibiotics sold for livestock use in this country continues to rise, topping 29 million pounds in 2011. This has a direct effect on the efficacy these same drugs will have on us. Sam Spitz has personal experience with a resistant illness and asked him to tell his story. It’s a cautionary tale that should have us all making better food choices. Read how we can all influence the campaign to end the misuse of antibiotics in livestock and keep antibiotics working for us when we need them! 


Seven years ago I had big dreams of playing in the Major Leagues. My fastball topped 86 mph. My curve broke from 12:00 to 6:00. And at 15, I was already entering my second season on varsity. Local scouts were drooling. They called almost every night, and even invited me to professional tryouts.

Then I ate a chicken Caesar salad that changed my life.

It was two weeks before my first sophomore start and I was rearing to go. I’d added 3 inches and 20 pounds to my frame in the off season and an extra 5 mph Sam Spitzto the fastball. I owed it to hard work and a healthy diet. Baseball meant the world to me, so I did everything I could to gain an edge. That’s why I went with a chicken Caesar salad instead of pizza one day when my teammates and I went to lunch after practice. It was the healthy choice, right?

Three hours later I was doubled over in the back of our car on the way to the emergency room. I had to wear a diaper. The chicken was contaminated with Campylobacter, a food-borne illness. It ate right through the lining of my intestines. Our bathroom was covered in blood.

Jenifer Keni
3/11/2013 3:36:15 AM

t brandt u are so full of bs and dont deserve to be on this site. you deserve to have a couple of mutant children and see how you feel about the food system. i will laugh as you die of cancer prematurely and wonder why. its people like you who are ignorant of the agricultural system and what it does to our future because you are selfish and feel you know enough. so toast to u and drink up your puss filled bovine milk. you probably work for the fda or some crappy company tht paid u to bash all people trying to protect themselves from parasites like you

t brandt
2/27/2013 12:18:25 PM

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves." Campylobacter infections are generally self-limited, requiring no antibiotic treatment. These are often given in severe cases with no empirical evidence that they actually work. While I'm sorry for this author's plight, it was something in his personal immune system that gave him the continuing problem, not a problem with the use of antibiotics in chickens. ...By using antibiotics in producing meat, more efficient use of land & resources ensues (more food from less land) That's good for the environment.... Don't forget that we have 7 billion mouths to feed & that will grow to 10 billion in the next 30 yrs. They can't all eat free range chicken.

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