Q. Some brands of fresh chicken claim to be healthier because they're antibiotic-free. Are the antibiotics in chicken unsafe to eat? What are they for?
A. It's not the antibiotics that are harmful; it's the resistant bacteria created by their use in poultry. People who ingest these bacteria can develop infections that are resistant — that is, they won't respond — to the antibiotics doctors commonly use to treat them. Such infections can be particularly dangerous to people with compromised immune systems, such as the frail elderly, people with HIV/AIDS, or those being treated for cancer or chronic inflammatory conditions.
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