Shedding Light in the Darkness

Antibiotics in Fruits and Vegetables


An article in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology 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 are using antibiotics in increasing numbers to eliminate pests that are often caused by depleted soil – a byproduct of decades of Big Ag practices.

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.”

Antibiotics are also found in vegetables, absorbed from manure from antibiotic-fed animals. An experiment by University of Minnesota researchers showed that the antibiotic chlortetracycline was taken up by cabbage, green onions and corn grown in manure treated soil. In a second experiment using liquid hog manure, the antibiotic sulfamethazine ended up in corn, lettuce and potatoes.

Many European countries have prohibited the use of antibiotics on food, but they are allowed in the US and in Canada.


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