Dangerous Superbugs In Your Food!

Feed lot production is not at all like the open prairie where the buffalo roam - it is packed, and the clients need to be medicated to prevent them from attacking one another.

Feed lot production is not at all like the open prairie where the buffalo roam. Its packed, and the clients need to be medicated to prevent them from attacking one another.

Have you given much thought to the issue of superbugs? These are the micro-organisms that have developed or mutated in response and as a reaction to our industrial practices. These bugs give doctors the now what? helpless stance, because they have no means to deal with them. No known antibiotic will stop the bugs. There is something that will! There are two issues -microbes found on and in your food, and the everything-resistant microbes that are found in hospitals.

The first thing you need to know is that heat kills these microbes, so as long as you cook the contaminated food, you will be fine. But all the handling before you cook it is about as dangerous as open-body-cavity surgery. No joking here: if you leave the wrapper on your kitchen counter, and touch it with your hand that later touches your food, you have re-exposed yourself!

47% of all samples of meat and poultry taken from supermarkets across the US register as contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Staph infection can cause food poisoning (the stomach flu) or skin infections (all the way to flesh eating disease, if it gets under your skin). Many of the samples of these meat products were positive for the antibiotic-resistant MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus). That means not even the strongest antibiotic can stop it.

By the way, MRSA is responsible for nearly 100,000 life-threatening infections a year, mainly in the bloodstream or urinary tract, and nearly 18,000 deaths from treatment-resistant pneumonia. That is more deaths than from AIDS and no campaign, no fundraising, just quiet acceptance in the mainstream. Most of these MRSA infections are contracted in the hospital! People infected with MRSA stay in the hospital three times longer, with greater expense because of intensive care, and have five times the risk of a death.

Your chance of bringing home a MRSA-infected product is one-in-four, and having virulent bacteria on your industrial-processed raw meat is very common. MRSA is spread by contact, so the bacteria can be spread by anyone who touches a leaking package the store employees, customers, the carts and baskets your chance of coming in contact with it is high.

If you eat at a restaurant, you are hoping that the employees did the right thing.

Listen to my podcast about the E. coli contaminated beef recall in Canada, and how you can protect yourself and your family. For over 50 years the regulators have sanctioned factory farming methods known as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). This affects all meat production including cattle, hogs, poultry and egg production. It also affects your salad ingredients, as we found out recently with the salmonella contaminated spinach recall.

Feed lot livestock are crowded in small pens that make it easy for disease to spread and the feed lot operators mix antibiotics in the animals feed preventively to lower the cost of production at the expense of your health. To finish cattle to turn it into beef, they feed them starch-and-sugar-rich grain (wheat, soy, corn and lately even candy) because it rapidly fattens the animals. Grain based diet creates serious digestive problems for cattle that is supposed to be grazing on grass acidosis in one of the four stomachs (rumen) giving rise to ulcers, liver problems, and imbalance in intestinal bacteria. They are trying to control it with preventive doses of antibiotics, which then kill off all but the most resistant and power strains of the intestinal life forms. Yes, the animals grow bigger and gain weight faster, but at what price to you?

Livestock antibiotics (used for purposes other than treating disease) represents the largest use of these drugs (by far!) about 25 million pounds annually, according to the Organic Consumers Association. This compares to the 3 million pounds of antibiotics administered to people in the US annually to treat diseases. This, along with our use of growth-hormones, is the main reason why Japan and the European Union have banned the import of US beef and animal products. Our negotiators are calling it trade restrictions, theirs are calling it health protection. What would you say?

The USDA has been ignoring the evidence for decades.

Researchers have warned that agricultural antibiotics would eventually selectively breed deadly superbugs, but the regulators are paid for by the producers the proverbial foxes are minding the hen house literally. The new US reality of lobbyists keeping control over the legislative process is leading us to uncharted territory. The economic interests of large, industrial food producers have been placed ahead of the publics health and safety. As you might suspect, billions of tax dollars are paid to CAFO operators and their grain suppliers every year in the form of farm subsidies.

How You Can Protect Yourself

If you are still buying industrial meat or poultry products either fresh or frozen please start handling them with operating-room sterile technique wash with strong disinfectant all surfaces it touched, and make sure all surface of the meat is cooked. You would do better buying meat and poultry directly from a local grower and if you can, visit the farm itself (you need to take a trip out into the fresh air some time) and ask about the processing plant where these animals are butchered. The large scale processors are more efficient, but they are definitely more dangerous to your health.

There are farmers who raise and sell organic, hormone-free, pasture-raised animal products, for example www.eatwild.com or www.grasslandbeef.com so you can buy online, or preferably from local farmer. The infection is on the surface. You can eat your whole or solid cuts rare, but all ground products need to be cooked all the way through. Store meat and poultry in your fridge so it can’t leak on other foods. Keep it away from other ingredients. Wash thoroughly after you handled the raw meat. And most importantly, put your money where your mouth is: support your ecological farmer. Stop buying the industrial food. In the long run, it will be a lot cheaper to eat organic.

Author: Martin Pytela