Imported seafood concerns

Helen Wellings
Today Tonight

Antibiotics are lifesavers which revolutionised medicine, but they're also dangerous if overused.

We now import 72 per cent of our seafood, mainly from Asia. But inside it and on it are antibiotic residues which are illegal here, but sneaking in all the same. And along for the ride are dangerous bacteria and deadly superbugs.

Dr Peter Collignon, Professor of infectious diseases at the Department of Microbiology at ANU warns that feeding antibiotics to farmed seafood to promote growth and treat diseases not only contaminates our food, but any bacteria living in or on that seafood can become immune to these drugs.

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"We need to be very careful that we do not ingest these foods that have in them antibiotics or drugs that shouldn't be there," Dr Collignon said.

Through constant exposure, the bacteria evolve into notorious superbugs, resistant to the most potent, last-resort antibiotics.

"We may well have an organism that's difficult to treat or impossible to treat," Dr Collington said.

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