The best headline of the day? Jamie Oliver: Sarah Palin A “Froot Loop” For Criticizing Michelle Obama. Oh, Mr. Oliver, Sarah Palin is a “Froot Loop” for so many reasons.
When I saw that this morning, my first thought was, maybe it won’t be a bad food news Monday after all. Wrong. It’s a pretty well known fact that most of the antibiotics in this country are actually used by farm animals rather than people, a whopping 4:1 ratio. The farm animals are fed antibiotics not just when they are sick but from the very beginning so that they don’t die from the conditions they are in (in the case of cows a corn diet for which their bodies are uniquely unsuited to eat) before they hit marketability (weight). Unsurprisingly, this practice has given rise to several antibiotic resistant pathogens not the least of which is MRSA of which Tom Philpott wrote;
We know that a kind of antibiotic-resistant staph infection called MRSA now kills more people than AIDS — and infects people who never set foot in a hospital, which is the site where MRSA is thought to have originated. We also know, due to the stellar work of Iowa State University researcher Tara Smith, that pigs in confined animal feedlot operations, and the workers who tend them, routinely carry MRSA strains.
So, one could make the argument that if one is worried about pathogens in their meat, stop eating meat, particularly factory farmed meat and that is a legitimate argument except for the fact that you no longer have to eat meat to be at risk thanks both to the common roach and common fly. Again from Tom Philpott at Grist:
And now we know of yet another means by which antibiotic-resistant nasties can make their way from meat factories into the broader community: through the cockroaches and flies drawn to the titanic amounts of manure produced on factory farms. For a paper published last month in the journal Microbiology, researchers from North Carolina State and Kansas State universities took one for the team — i.e., the public. They did something few of us would want to do: rounded up common flies and roaches hanging around factory hog farms, and tested them to see what kinds of bacteria they were harboring.
Their finding? More than 90 percent of the insects sampled carried forms of the bacteria Enterococci that are resistant to at least one common antibiotic, and often more than one. Here’s how the authors summed up their findings in the paper’s abstract:
This study shows that house flies and German [common] cockroaches in the confined swine production environment likely serve as vectors and/or reservoirs of antibiotic resistant and potentially virulent enterococci and consequently may play an important role in animal and public health.
Awesome. Now, I don’t even have to eat meat to get sick from it. How efficient. I’m wondering if anyone remembers a little thing called the bubonic plague and the results of it’s visitation on the human population?
Interestingly, I had already made the decision/commitment to go vegan for the month of March, this certainly helped push that decision right over the edge. I’m going to go hug my squash, tomatoes and mushrooms and check the screens on my windows.
- Chicken, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and regulatory independence (grist.org)
- Animal Farms May Produce Superbugs (webmd.com)
- Deadly superbugs are spread miles from farms by house flies (dailymail.co.uk)
- Household bugs — a risk to human health? (eurekalert.org)
- Drug-Resistant Bacterial Outbreaks: From Factory Farm to Table (health.change.org)
- The Transmission of MRSA Infections Via Swimming Pools (brighthub.com)
- How does antibiotic use in farm animals affect humans? (greenanswers.com)
- Jamie Oliver: Sarah Palin A ‘Froot Loop’ For Criticizing Michelle Obama (huffingtonpost.com)