Health

  • Feb
  • 9

Superbugs—in a Supermarket Near You?

Posted by at 8:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)


As if there weren’t already enough reasons not to eat meat, researchers have found high levels of MRSA—an antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus bacterium that now kills more than 19,000 Americans each year—in pork sold in supermarkets in Iowa, Minnesota, and New Jersey. The bacterium was found in pork from conventionally raised pigs as well as pork from pigs who weren’t given antibiotics. It has also been found in supermarket beef, chicken, and turkey.

The rise in antibiotic-resistant superbugs such as MRSA, salmonella, campylobacter, listeria, and E. coli can largely be attributed to the overuse of antibiotics in animals. Disease-causing bacteria thrive on filthy, severely crowded factory farms, where tens of thousands of animals are packed in damp, dark sheds. The powerful, burning stench of ammonia-laden urine commonly leads to respiratory diseases, bacterial infections, and other ailments. The conditions on factory farms are so deplorable that the animals are often fed a steady dose of antibiotics just to keep them alive long enough to send them to slaughter.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, up to 70 percent of the antibiotics used in the U.S. are given to healthy farmed animals —not to sick people. Some, including penicillin and tetracycline, are also used to treat people. But when people get sick, the antibiotics they’re prescribed don’t always work because they’ve built up a tolerance to them by eating meat, dairy products, or eggs from animals who were fed the same drugs.

The U.S. General Accounting Office warns, “Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been transferred from animals to humans, and many of the studies we reviewed found that this transference poses significant risks for human health.” A Belgian survey showed that MRSA has been found on 68 percent of the pig farms in that country. In 37 percent of the cases, the farmer and the farmer’s family carried pig MRSA—a variant of human MRSA, which can cause skin infections and serious illnesses.

It’s not unusual for animal-borne pathogens to mutate and sicken humans. Most pandemics, such as swine flu and bird flu, originate in animals, especially those raised on factory farms. This is a double whammy really, considering that fatty, cholesterol-laden meat, eggs, and dairy products also contribute to many common life-threatening medical conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

If you want to help stop the spread of MRSA and other superbugs—and reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer—stop eating animals if you haven’t done so already. The fewer animals we raise for food, the fewer superbugs and animal-borne diseases there will be. And if we raise fewer animals for food, fewer animals will suffer. Everyone will benefit.

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6 Comments

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    Pamela C. says...

    February 11th, 2012, 12:24 am

    To make it even worse, I believe the meat in the market is superior to the meat used in fast food and most restaurants. I’m staying vegetarian.

    Issis says...

    February 11th, 2012, 12:28 am

    It is common sense that filthy, crowded conditions lead to sick animals. Instead of doing the right thing – improving the feed and condition of farm animals, agri-business chose the cheapest, easiest route … drug abuse. Apparently, the drug industry was only too happy to divert chemicals created to cure human illness to make the corrupt agri-business practices possible. Government, of course, continues to be complicit, using taxpayer funds to address the ever higher health care and environmental costs caused by agri-business abuse of antibiotics, hormones, and other drugs, which lace animal “products” and increasingly are entering water bodies, including ground water. While animals pay the highest price, increasingly those who eat them (and even some who don’t) are faced with ever higher health care costs and taxes to pay for sophisticated water treatment and other measures to reduce the toxins in our environmental. Not eating meat, poultry, pork, etc. is, of course a first step … for humane and health reasons. Standing up to agri-business practices by demanding more animal and environmental safeguards is equally important.

    Anne Compagnon says...

    February 11th, 2012, 10:47 am

    Ladies and Gentlemen:

    A question: When are our farm animals going to have more space until they have to be slaugter for the tummy’s of millions of people all around the World?

    Look at Sweeden animal laws. see for yourself how much dignity is given to the very animals that God (in whichever image you want) created for our comfort.

    God gave strict rules for his People. Today is no better than yesterday years in dietary concerns.

    God would have a “fit” each time He looked down and see the extreme
    cruelty when it comes to keeping animals well wattered, well fed, and with plenty of space.

    Dont you think you owe to the animals the
    dignity of dying without having to stay day in and day out in a miserable dirty pen.

    Dazzle59 says...

    February 11th, 2012, 12:28 pm

    It’s crazy … most meat eaters I know are aware of the horrifying conditions on factory farms and the poor quality of conventional animal foods, yet they continue to eat the flesh, fluids and eggs of sick, tortured, drugged animals at every meal. Then they turn up their noses at my tofu salad sandwich and pronounce it “gross.” I honestly don’t get it. Eat like you give a damn – go vegan!

    dee says...

    February 17th, 2012, 12:32 am

    this is a really good time to be a vegetarian. i’m so glad i am!

    Kimberly Westfall says...

    February 20th, 2012, 2:25 pm

    @Dazzle59.(My reply is written with all do respect, not meant to antagonize or criticize or antagonize anyone, just wanted everyone to see things from another point of view!)
    Some of us who are already having problems from illnesses, that have nothing to with animals. (wanted to make that clear), are already having issues of losing to much weight, and we need the nutrients in the meat we eat. I can’t take supplements because of the mediations that I have to take on a daily basis. I personally, can not live off of weeds, and such like salads. I enjoy a salad on occasion, but the tofu and other stuff isn’t for everyone. I do find it gross, it has no desirable taste and literally makes me nauseous. I know many others who feel the same way, however I disagree with anyone who uses the mean, hateful, and disrespectful ways of communicating to resolve this I just want people to know that some of us do not have any other choice

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