Consumers are confused about the causes of antibiotic resistance and the use of antibiotics in livestock and poultry production, according to a new survey released by the American Meat Institute (AMI). 

Consumers were asked questions such as, “According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which of the following is the greatest contributing factor to human antibiotic resistance?” Only 41% of the consumers surveyed correctly answered, “health professionals over-prescribing to people.”

Eighteen percent thought use of antibiotics in livestock production was the leading contributor.  Other reasons sighted were antimicrobial hand sanitizers (7%) and drinking water (5%).  Twenty-eight percent were unsure. 

The survey also found confusion regarding antibiotic residues.  Nearly 40% responded that unsafe levels of antibiotics are commonly present in the meat and poultry products found at the grocery store, though government data show that violative antibiotic residues in meat and poultry are virtually non-existent. 

The survey was conducted by Harris Poll in March covering 2,400 adults.