A study by the Albert Schweitzer Foundation for Our Environment found multi-resistant germs in 71% of Lidl chicken meat samples of their own brand “Metzgerfrisch” from the discounter Lidl based in Bad Wimpfen (Baden-Württemberg), Germany. These germs could cause diseases such as urinary tract or gastrointestinal infections. The foundation blames the conditions in chicken fattening for the high germ load and calls on Lidl to comply with the standards of the European Broiler Chicken Initiative.
Imke Lührs, a specialist in internal medicine and board member of doctors against factory farming, said to Breakinglass News, “The vast majority of samples are contaminated with pathogens that are potentially dangerous for humans. The high proportion of antibiotic-resistant germs on the meat is absolutely worrying.”
According to the Foundation, the analysis found that 71% of the samples contained the enzyme ESBL, which makes the bacteria found on the meat resistant to several common antibiotics. The majority of resistant bacteria (75%) are faecal germs Escherichia coli which can trigger various diseases. In addition, Enterococcus (25% of samples), Campylobacter (18 %) and Salmonella (1 Probe) were also found. A total of 51 samples of chicken meat products (all husbandry type level 2 “Barn Plus”) taken in January and February 2023 in eight randomly selected Lidl stores across Germany were examined, and only six samples did not show any resistant bacteria.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 1.3 million people now die every year because antibiotics cannot cure their infections due to resistance to pathogens. In Germany, there are 45,700 deaths a year that are related to resistant germs and a further 9,650 that are directly attributable to them. The problem is being made worse by the excessive use of antibiotics by the animal agriculture industry. Laith Yakob, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine at the University of London, wrote in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health that almost 100,000 tons of antibiotics for animal breeding are sold every year.