Factory Farms, Antibiotics and Superbugs – Lance Price


Lance Price uses DNA to track “superbugs,” or bacteria that are resistant to our best antibiotics, that are killing 23,000 Americans every year. On one hand, these bugs are becoming stronger from evolution. On the other hand, the constant presence of antibiotics is accelerating this process. In order to slow down the growth of superbugs, the food system needs to make some big changes.

Publications & Reports


Reports & Studies

  • Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, CDC, 2013.
    This CDC report presents the burdens and threats that antibiotic-resistant germs pose on human health.
  • Antimicrobial Resistance: global report on surveillance, WHO, 2014.
    Produced in collaboration with Member States, this report discusses how antibiotic resistance is reaching alarming levels.
  • Raising Resistance, The National Resources Defense Council, 2014.
    This NRDC report provides evidence that the overuse of antibiotics in food and animal production is a major source of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
  • Testimony of Lance B. Price, Ph.D., Lance Price, 2014.
    The official transcript of Lance Price addressing the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology on the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture.


Discussion Questions

  • Why are antibiotics used in food and animals?
  • How does this impact human health?
  • What can policymakers do to encourage and/or enforce practices that reduce the inappropriate and unnecessary use of antibiotics?
  • What can consumers do to force change and help fight the growing threat of antibiotic resistance?
  • How can we raise awareness and educate those who aren’t aware of antibiotic resistance?

Additional information

Take Action

Things You Can Do to Combat Antibiotic Resistance

  • Go to drugsmakebugs.org to sign the most recent petitions and see other ways you can take action.
  • Use regular soap rather than antibacterial soap.
  • Encourage Members of Congress to support legislation aimed at ending antibiotic overuse and misuse in food animal production and to support funding to fight superbugs.
  • Get your city to pass a resolution calling for an end to the misuse of antibiotics on factory farms.
  • If you work in a hospital, develop an antibiotics resolution for your health care facility.
  • Read the Environmental Working Group’s Meat Eaters Guide on what labels you can trust in grocery stores.
  • Eat without antibiotics! When dining out, ask for meat and poultry that was raised without antibiotics.
  • Next time you buy meat or poultry, use the Eat Well Guide to find antibiotic free products. Look for the USDA Organic and and “No Antibiotics Administered” labels.
  • Go to Change Food’s Tumblr site to share and give us feedback on your experiences.



Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics

The Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics, APUA, aims to preserve the power of antibiotics and increase access to needed drugs through raising public awareness, improving policy and strengthening research and treatment.

American Academy of Pediatrics

The American Academy of Pediatrics, AAP, seeks to attain optimal physical, mental and social health and well-being for all children.

Antibiotic Resistance Action Center

The Antibiotic Resistance Action Center, ARAC, at The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health was created to reduce antibiotic resistance worldwide. ARAC, housed in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, is led by microbiologist Dr. Lance Price, an internationally-recognized and respected scientist pioneering the use of genomic epidemiology to understand how the misuse of antibiotics in food animals affects public health.

Center for a Livable Future

The Center for a Livable Future conducts research on diet, food production, the environment and human health in order to promote policies that reduce threats to public health and the environment.

Center for Science in the Public Interest

The Center for Science in the Public Interest,CSPI, seeks to educate the public and advocate for policies consistent with scientific research. With almost 2 million readers, CSPI’s Nutrition Action Healthletter is the largest circulation health and nutrition newsletter in North America. Sign up!

Centers for Disease Control

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity (DNPAO), which works to make healthy eating and active lifestyles accessible to all. Browse their site for state and local programs, data and statistics and more.

Consumers Union

The policy and action division of Consumer Reports, Consumers Union works with activists to create consumer-friendly policies. See how you can take action.

Environmental Working Group

The Environmental Working Group’s mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action.  We are a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.  We work for you.  Do you know what’s in your tap water? What about your shampoo? What’s lurking in the cleaners underneath your sink? What pesticides are on your food? How about the farms, fracking wells and factories in your local area? Do you know what safeguards they use to protect your water, soil, air and your kids? Which large agribusinesses get your tax dollars and why?  What are GMOs? What do they do to our land and water?  More than two decades ago EWG set out to answer these questions, and more, and to empower you to get to know your environment and protect your health. Take action

Food & Water Watch
Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.
Food Animal Concerns Trust

Founded in 1982, Food Animal Concerns Trust, FACT, is a nonprofit that promotes healthy farming practices.

Health Care Without Harm

Health Care Without Harm is an international coalition of hospitals and health care systems working to implement ecologically sound and healthy alternatives to health care practices worldwide.

Healthy Food Action

Healthy Food Action creates a forum for healthcare professionals to learn and also speak out about public policy debates relating to food and farming.

Humane Society of the United States

The nation’s largest animal protection and advocacy organization, the Humane Society of the United States seeks to combat animal cruelty.

Infectious Diseases Society of America

The Infectious Diseases Society of America, IDSA, has a wealth of information on antimicrobial resistance and is working to combat it.

Keep Antibiotics Working

The Keep Antibiotics Working, KAW, is a coalition of health, consumer, agricultural, environmental, humane and other advocacy groups working to eliminate antibiotic resistance so that doctors can continue to rely on antibiotics.

March of Dimes

March of Dimes provides health resources for mothers and mothers-to-be.

Natural Resources Defense Council

Natural Resources Defense Council, Peter Lehner’s organization, includes facts and additional resources about food waste on the NRDC website.

STOP Foodborne Illness

STOP Foodborne Illness advocates for public policies and builds public awareness in an effort to prevent illness and death from foodborne illnesses.

The Pew Charitable Trusts

The Pew Charitable Trusts is an independent nonprofit organization that seeks to improve public policy, inform the public and invigorate civic life. Its Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project, in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, provides analysis on school foods policies.

Trust for America’s Health

Trust for America’s Health, TFAH, emphasizes prevention, protection and communities in its fight to make disease prevention a national priority.

Waterkeeper Alliance

Waterkeeper Alliance defends their communities against anyone who threatens their right to clean water. Interested in protecting the water resources in your community? Visit their webpage and find out how you can become a Waterkeeper.