Recently published findings about drug resistant bacteria in U.S. meat is raising hairs - and blood pressure - among consumers. Disease-causing bacteria in our food are bad enough, but when they are also resistant to antibiotics, then its really scary. How can we be treated if we catch them?
A study published in the reputable journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases on April 15 is the cause of the furror. Testing on beef, chicken, pork and turkey for sale in U.S. stores in cities of Chicago, Los Angeles. Washington, D.C., Fort Lauderdale in Florida, and Flagstaff in Arizona, found that about 47 percent of the meat was contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus . And, it found that over half of these bacteria were resistant to at least 3 kinds of antibiotics. Some were resistant to more. Reportedly, at least one meat sample contained MRSA.
It seems that genetic testing argues that the bacteria came from the animals themselves - not from handling or packaging or some other source. If you have read The Safe Food Handbook, you won't be surprised. You also won't be surprised that the bacteria are antibiotic resistant, since the book explains why such bacteria are on the increase in meat and farmed seafood.
Industrialized food production is to blame. The popular practice in the United States is to give food animals small doses of antibiotics on a regular basis to keep them from getting sick, and fatten them up faster. No, it is not to treat illness - this is strictly preventive. And, it is profitable for the meat and the pharmaceutical industries.
The United States is behind the European and many other industrialized countries in banning this dangerous over-use and misappropriate use of drugs. Yes, it may help to keep our meat and poultry cheap - which is the argument of the industry. But is it worth creating a huge risk for public health?