Hard to believe, but every time you bite into an organic apple or pear you get a mouthful – and gutful – of antibiotics. That’s because organic apple and pear growers are allowed to spray streptomycin and tetracycline on their trees to prevent a bacterial disease called fireblight.
Ingesting antibiotics with your food increases your chances of developing resistance to those antibiotics. Which means next time you need a cure for a respiratory infection, or something more serious, like tuberculosis, those antibiotics might not work so well. That’s why, in 2011, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) informed organic apple and pear growers that antibiotics would no longer be allowed to be used after October 21, 2014. But now, thanks to pressure from the organic apple and pear industry, the NOSB is considering pushing back that date until 2016. There are other, safer, ways to control fireblight. Please ask the NOSB to stick with the agreed schedule and get antibiotics out of organic apples and pears by October 2014.