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Superbugs Invading Supermarket Meats
by Chris Malone,posted Apr 17 2013 5:17AM
A new report by Environmental Working Group details disturbing problems that widespread use of antibiotics in animals causes for humans. It also offers tips for consumers. The report titled Superbugs Invade American Supermarkets, analyzes the latest government tests of supermarket meat to ferret out the truth about antibiotic-resistant bacteria in meat.
Last February, a report on antibiotic-resistant bacteria in supermarket meat was released by the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, a joint project of the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The EWG makes it a point to say that the results of these tests were “little noticed,” but here’s what was found.
Supermarket meat samples collected in 2011 harbored significant amounts of the superbug versions of salmonella and Campylobacter, which together cause 3.6 million cases of food poisoning a year.
The superbugs were found in:
81 percent of ground turkey
69 percent of pork chops
55 percent of beef
39 percent of chicken breasts, wings and thighs
the EWG report notes. In 2011, 30 million pounds of antibiotics were used on domestic food-producing animals, up 22 percent since 2005. In fact, 80 percent of all the antibiotics in America are used on food-producing animals. The other 20 percent of antibiotics are being used on humans.
But, even with this widespread use, or misuse as it actually is, the amount of potentially harmful bacteria found in meat is overwhelming. As more and more antibiotics are pumped into animals that don’t need them, bacteria adapt and become resistant to the antibiotics.
Animals aren’t the only ones that are affected. The problems it can cause humans is scary.
Antibiotic misuse threatens to make important antibiotics ineffective in treating human disease. In the past, people who became ill because of contact with harmful microbes on raw meat usually recovered quickly when treated with antibiotics. But today, the chances are increasing that a person can suffer serious illness, complications or death because of a bacterial infection that doctors must struggle to control.
The World Health Organization has said that “if important antibiotics become useless, things as common as strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could once again kill.”
Opt for organic and meat raised without unnecessary antibiotics when you can. They have fewer superbugs, in part because these livestock producers rely on preventive medicine, good sanitation and stress reduction — not antibiotics — to keep animals healthy. Most stores offer an option at good prices.
Buy from farmers and producers who use antibiotics prudently: Some sell locally and others online.
Ask your butcher or local farmer how the meat was raised. Ask your store manager to carry meat raised without unnecessary antibiotics.
In addition to buying better meat and following safety rules, consumers need to spread the word. Tell your friends about the overuse of antibiotics in meat and the problems it can cause with human health. Link to this post or the EWG page on Facebook. Tweet about it.
Perhaps you should know both sides of the story before you post a blog about antibiotics in meat. It is obvious from your post that your information is slanted. There are strict regulations that every producer follows in regards to antibiotic usein animals raised for food production. And remember, organic doesn't necessarily mean disease free. When an organically raised animal gets sick, and they do, then what?
reply to amonymous from Chris Malone
Anonymous, what is the other side of the story? I am always open to debate but you’ve only offered criticism about not knowing the other side. Seriously, enlighten me and follow through with a source, a link or credentials.-Chris Malone