Regarding the June 12 Health & Science article “ Squid show antibiotic-resistant bacteria”:
The findings from the study that raise concerns are not that seafood or other food products are contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria known to be harmful to humans; unfortunately, that is already old news.
The most concerning finding from the study was that a common species of bacteria displayed a new type of resistance not seen before in the U.S. food system. The bacteria somehow acquired genes that allowed them to resist carbapenems, a class of antibiotics considered a critical “last line of defense” for human medicine. The fear is that these carbapenem-resistance genes can be transferred to other, more harmful bacteria found commonly on food products, including some species of E. coli.
The Food and Drug Administration can, and should, do more to limit the misuse of antibiotics in the production of food animals, whether terrestrial or aquatic, in order to reduce the risk of accelerating antibiotic resistance.
Robert Lawrence and Patrick Baron, Baltimore
The writers are, respectively, the director of and a fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.