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Drug-Resistant Staph Spells Trouble For Meat Industry

Here is the silver lining of this appalling state of affair: how about considering the damning conclusion of the report as an extra nail in the coffin of the meat industry? Not that the government is likely to take any significant action in a timely manner (after all, Staph is not among the four types of drug-resistant bacteria that the USDA routinely surveys retail meat and poultry for).

To be sure, consumers are not going to desert fast-food joints and the innumerable sources of cheap meat en masse overnight. However, each of us retains the power to “vote” with our dollars. Let’s boycott the damn food and be loud about it! Equipped with the new piece of evidence offered by TGen, let’s educate and embarrass restaurant and supermarket managers into reevaluating how they source their meat. Now, they surely would want to avoid losing business or being subjected to litigation, now would they?

For those of us who are not quite ready for radical action, quiet vegetarianism is an obvious option. And if we’re not prepared to forego meat, the good news is that healthy alternatives do exist: at a minimum, check the labels for the “no antibiotics” seal; even better, favor “organic” (which officially guarantees the absence of antibiotics), or even “pasture-raised” meat. Sure, it is more expensive. Which is as it should be: the price premium factors in the extra-cost of farming practices that leave planet and people unharmed. And truly, we don’t need as much meat as we’ve become accustomed to consuming anyway.

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Laetitia Mailhes

Laetitia Mailhes is a French-born journalist. After many years as the technology and innovation correspondent of the French "Financial Times" in San Francisco, she decided to focus on what truly matters to her: sustainable food and farming. Find more articles and videos on her blog, The Green Plate Blog.

74 comments

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2:25PM PDT on Jul 5, 2011

We should stop passing legislation (like RFID tagging) that makes small farm husbandry too expensive. The unhealthy, unhappy condition of factory farms makes animals sick.

9:36PM PDT on Jun 23, 2011

scary

4:49PM PDT on May 23, 2011

Or, call it a wake up call!

9:35AM PDT on Apr 23, 2011

Most of my friends are well aware of the dangers of too many antibiotics being handed out, but that won't stop the Dr.s who do so. It will have to come from the regulating commissions, and the AMA itself.

3:26PM PDT on Apr 22, 2011

This is why I try not to eat too much meat, unless it is organic. I'm very much in touch with keeping my body as healthy as my children's bodies.

12:56PM PDT on Apr 21, 2011

Oh, my comment didn't post the whole thing.

(contintued)... into the sausage in comparison with which a poisoned rat was a tidbit. The routine slaughter of diseased animals, the use of chemicals such as borax and glycerine to disguise the smell of spoiled beef, the deliberate mislabeling of canned meat, the tendency of workers to urinate and defecate on the kill floor.

12:35PM PDT on Apr 21, 2011

Well said, Gerlinde, Olivia and Jorge.

5:57AM PDT on Apr 21, 2011

On the bright side, the world's due to end in Dec next year ...

6:37PM PDT on Apr 20, 2011

In a 1996 study, the FDA found that nearly 79 percent of ground beef is primarily spread through fecal matter. So pretty much, there’s shit in the meat. The problem of cattle spreading bacteria to humans is partly due to the conditions that cattle are raised. They live in close quarters where contagious infections multiply and they eat foods that make them unhealthy. Cows’ digestive systems are meant for grass but instead, cattle are often raised on corn and high-protein feeds made from rendered animals. Mad Cow Disease prompted a ban on feeding cattle dead cow remains, but the FDA still permits horse, poultry, and pig remains, as well as cow blood in cattle feed. The pathogens are also spread at slaughterhouses. If a worker carelessly removes the digestive systems from a cow carcass, manure and dirt can spill onto the meat. The workers are often poorly trained and under extreme time pressures, making mistakes more likely. Grinding the meat spreads the contamination from the meat of one cow to hundreds.
The waste products from poultry plants, including the sawdust and old newspapers used as litter, are also being fed to cattle. About 3 million pounds of chicken manure were fed to cattle in 1994. Chicken manure may contain dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella,parasites, tapeworms, etc.
Next, the meat is shoveled into carts, and some of the men who do the shoveling would not go through the trouble to lift out a rat even when he saw one -there were things that went

7:19AM PDT on Apr 20, 2011

Well, I've read that most large farm facilities are feeding there stock their own waste mixed with feed now, to save money and decrease waste, I think you can find more info. on the Peta site. I don't eat meat and don't believe in over doing it with antibiotics either. Seems likely that if the animals are eating contaminated waste in the first place, that is where some problems are starting, as well as over crowded diseased facilities coupled by the anitbiotics.

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