Farmers who are using antibiotics to keep pests away from their crops are making children allergic to the fruits and vegetables they grow, research suggests.
Several years ago, more than 150 scientists and 50 farmers came out in support of stricter limits on antibiotics used in animal agriculture as part of a broader effort to tackle the public health crisis caused by growing antibiotic resistance. But now, in a case highlighted in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, this concern rears its head more aggressively. Not only are antibiotics that are used in livestock harmful, but the antibiotics being used on fruits and vegetables are causing other problems.
The journal had detailed how a 10-year-old girl who ate a blueberry pie had a near-fatal allergic reaction. It turns out the problem wasn’t the blueberries, but the antibiotic streptomycin. The blueberries had been treated with the antibiotic to keep bacteria, fungi, and algae from growing on the fruit.
Farmers have turned to antibiotics in increasing numbers to eliminate pests that are often caused by depleted soil – a byproduct of decades of Big Ag practices, namely from growing pesticide and herbicide doused GM crops. Aside from adding toxins to the soil and stripping it of important enzymes that plants need to fight off pests themselves, out of the 70+ trace minerals that were originally in nutrient-rich soils, modern methods replenish merely 4 or 5. This means that not only are plants less resistant to pests, but superweeds can grow like wildfire.
Furthermore, crops that are grown in depleted, biotech-influenced-soils are more susceptible to insect infestations, viruses, and diseases. That’s why Monsanto’s Round Up is one of the best selling chemical herbicides in the world – no matter that it causes birth defects, kidney disease, and cancer.
The ten-year-old girl who suffered an allergic reaction to some blueberries is a more common phenomenon these days, according to Dr. James DeAngelo, an allergy specialist. Children are popping up with allergies to fruits and vegetables all the time, but what they are really allergic to is what is sprayed on the plants:
“This could explain why so many people insist they’re allergic to berries, but when we test them to berries, they’re negative, and then they re-consume berries, they seem to tolerate them.”
DeAngelo notes that true allergies to any kind of berry are extremely rare.
Doctors believe traces of streptomycin and other antibiotics on produce, meat, and in the water supply can add to the rising incidence of fruit and vegetable allergies.
Many European countries have prohibited the use of antibiotics on food, but they are allowed in the US and in Canada. As long as we continue to follow Big Ag’s advice for growing our food – we can expect more problems like these to arise. Our children can’t even eat their greens anymore due to the overuse of antibiotics.
This article originally appeared at Natural Society.