DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Like any other parent, Jennifer McDaniel wants her children to grow up healthy and strong.

“I try to pay attention to labels more now than ever.” McDaniel says.

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The Dallas Moms Blogger says the quantity of antibiotics in the protein she and her family consume is a top concern.

“To me the little extra money I spend is totally worth it because I have more peace of mind.

Health experts are also concerned about antibiotic overuse.

“The problem of antibiotic resistance, which comes from overuse of antibiotics, both in humans and animals, is a crisis at this point.” Jean Halloran, the Director of Food Policy Initiatives for Consumer Reports said.

According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health and food security. Giving animals antibiotics will kill many bacteria, but drug resistant bacteria can survive and multiply. The CDC says overuse of antibiotics in livestock can cause resistant bacteria to spread, putting humans at risk of developing life- threatening infections.

Right now, the Department of Bioengineering at The University of Texas at Dallas is testing a new device that could help consumers know the exact quantity of antibiotics or pesticides in their foods.

UT Dallas pesticide food sensor (CBS 11)

“The accuracy is tuned to 95% to 99% accuracy says Professor Shalini Prasad, whose team is developing the low-cost sensor.

The disposable strips, which cost about 5 cents apiece, connect to a keychain device that communicates with an app. When you stick the sensor into the food, it reports those numbers back to the app and lets you know whether they fall under an acceptable range.

Researchers working on the sensor say it could empower them to make better-informed decisions about what to buy.

“When I am feeding my son certain meat, I as a parent need to decide in the long term how might that implicate his health,” Dr. Prasad explains.

It also tests for antibiotics in milk and cooked meat and poultry.

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To test for pesticides in produce, consumers would dip the sensor into runoff water after washing the fruit or vegetable. Doctor Prasad recommends rinsing and soaking produce at least three times to wash off pesticides.
The device is not on the market yet.

But a Consumer Reports survey of more than 1,000 people indicates shoppers are interested antibiotic-free choices.

Forty-three percent of those surveyed said they always or often buy meat raised without antibiotics at the supermarket. And nearly 6 out of 10 people would be more likely to eat at a restaurant if the meat and poultry was raised without antibiotics.

McDaniel says decoding all the labels on shelves can be confusing.

“It’s hard to know what we’re actually getting. We’re paying the extra money for all these labels on food, but I’ve read, they can be misleading,” says McDaniel.

For companies to label foods as raised “without antibiotics” or “no antibiotics ever,” animals cannot have been given antibiotics in their feed, water or by injections.

To know exactly what you’re getting, it is important to understand the labels on your food.

For companies to label foods as raised “without antibiotics” or “no antibiotics ever,” animals cannot have been given antibiotics in their feed, water or by injections.

You can also look for a USDA process verified seal which tells you USDA inspectors have visited the farm to confirm.

The 100% natural label means the products don’t contain artificial colors flavors or preservatives–but it doesn’t tell you how the animals were raised or whether antibiotics were used.

The USDA says the most meaningful label is its USDA Certified Organic label.

It tells consumers the product has met specific standards, including that animals are not treated with antibiotics.

For the complete list of the dirty doze fruits and veggies with the most pesticide residue, click here.

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For the list of USDA meat and poultry labeling terms, click here.