Skip to main content

Environment & ethics

Antibiotic Resistance – why buying organic can help the crisis

We are really pleased to see that antibiotic resistance is hitting the headlines properly with the release of economist Jim O’Neill’s report, The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance. Guy wrote his newsletter, Dying for Cheap Meat in response to the news in November 2015 that bacterial resistance had been found against Colistin, often described as the ‘antibiotic of last resort’. We had a huge response back then and it’s good news that this massive issue is reaching a wider audience through the media in 2016.

One of the major contributors to antibiotic resistance is the routine use of antibiotics in farm animals, particularly those produced under intensive conditions (which are therefore more vulnerable to disease), such as pigs. Organic animals are reared without the routine use of drugs; so we believe organic meat offers the best way to avoid farming methods that are contributing to antibiotic resistance.

We only sell 100% organic meat at Riverford. The Soil Association is our organic certifying body, and they have put together this handy summary of why buying organic means you are buying meat reared to the very highest animal welfare standards:

Organic means happier, healthier animals which…

  • Must have access to pasture (when weather and ground conditions permit) and are truly free range.
  • Must have plenty of space – which helps to reduce stress and disease.
  • Are fed a diet that is as natural as possible and free from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Over a million tonnes of GM crops are imported each year to feed the majority of non-organic livestock which produce chicken, eggs, pork, bacon, milk, cheese etc. This practice is banned under organic standards.
  • Graze and forage naturally on organic pasture (grasses and other crops) where only natural fertilisers are used and pesticides are severely restricted.
  • Cannot be given hormones which make them grow more quickly.
  • Must not be produced from cloned animals.
  • Must not routinely be given antibiotics. Farm animals now account for almost two-thirds of all antibiotics used in the EU. These are passed to us through the food chain.

Take a look at our meat range at

Read more in Guy’s Newsletter: Dying for cheap meat




    Wicked Leeks issue 8

    Wicked Leeks is out now

    Featuring a cover interview with Patagonia, the latest news from COP26, and living for a new era. Plus meet the farm of the future, how to eat to protect biodiversity and seasonal eating in autumn.

    Read now

    Choose food that hasn't flown.

    Riverford organic veg boxes are delivered directly to your door. Choose your box now.

    Go to Riverford

    The net zero counter narrative

    Read our coverage of the new trend for net zero and see beyond the headlines.

    Read more

    Grow Your Own

    Our monthly gardening advice column offers timely advice for your organic patch, whether you're an expert grower or just starting out.

    Spread the word

    The twin crises of climate change and biodiversity losses will be the defining stories of our future, but it is not too late to change direction. 

    Here at Wicked Leeks, our mission is to help inform and inspire positive change. Our journalism is free to all because of this, but we want to reach as many people as possible who share our desire for a better world. We know our readers are some of the biggest advocates of sustainable living, and you can help us grow this movement by sharing this article widely, with your friends and on social media. Now is the time to act.