Staph Infected Meat? Oh, About Half.

A new study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute shows that, "nearly half of the meat and poultry samples — 47 percent — were contaminated with S. aureus, and more than half of those bacteria — 52 percent — were resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics."

The study published in the journal, Clinical Infectious Diseases, (April 15), brings attention to an overwhelmingly avoidable problem. Staph infections are typically caused by poor hygiene and poor diet. If almost half of meat carried in grocery stores are infected with Staphylococcus, it's not difficult to deduce that at least half the meat being raised in farms that supply the grocery stores are both unclean and undernourished.

In considering the antibiotic qualifier to this study, we can safely assume that animals have been pumped with so many antibiotics that the staph has acclimated as well. The study cites, "Densely-stocked industrial farms, where food animals are steadily fed low doses of antibiotics, are ideal breeding grounds for drug-resistant bacteria that move from animals to humans ... Although Staph should be killed with proper cooking, it may still pose a risk to consumers through improper food handling and cross-contamination in the kitchen."

The study also points out that, "The U.S. government routinely surveys retail meat and poultry for four types of drug-resistant bacteria, but S. aureus is not among them."  And this just six months after the passing of S510, our food safety bill which promises to make all industrial foods safe.

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) is concerned about the overuse of antibiotic drugs in our food supply. In February, she said, "4 out of 5 antibiotics sold in this country were for use on animals, many of whom are not even sick, and that is dangerous to all of us. We know that the widespread use of antibiotics on healthy animals is contributing to the growth of bacteria resistance to the drugs we use to treat humans." In the following video, she reiterates, " would be like a mother, sprinkling antibiotics on her childrens' cereal every morning, in hopes the child would not get sick." She confirms the "unspeakable conditions" by which animals are kept in effort to laud a profit.

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On March 17, 2009, Rep. Slaughter introduced HR 1549, The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) in the House of Representatives. This critical legislation is designed to ensure that we preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics for the treatment of human diseases.

Food safety is equanimous with accountability. Infectious meat can be avoided by providing proper sanitation, proper space and proper diet. Industrial food producers continue to think of their items as product, not food for others' consumption. And with that mindset, the holy dollar is the capital by which all rules bay. The best way to avoid tainted meat is to more personally know those that raise and produce meat for food.

Photo credit:  by mrgarin