The Environmental Working Group analyzed the latest government tests (quietly published February 5, 2013) of supermarket meats to determine the extent of superbugs in the meat and found antibiotic-resistant bacteria, aka superbugs, are routinely common in the meat departments of US supermarkets.  Samples tested were host to significant amounts of salmonella and Campylobacter, which together cause 3,600,000 annual cases of food poisoning.

The tests were run by the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, a joint project of the federal Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Department of Agriculture.

Specifically, antibiotic-resistant bacteria were found in 81% of ground turkey, 69% of pork chops, 55% of ground beef and 39% of chicken breasts, wings and thighs.

Misuse and overuse of antibiotics spawned the proliferation of superbugs.  The factory farms that produce the 8,900,000,000 animals for food routinely use antibiotics with limited veterinary oversight and often without prescription to stimulate faster growth and prevent infection in unsanitary living conditions.

The total consumption by the animals humans eventually consume accounts for 80% of the antibiotics produced by US pharmaceutical companies.

Overuse and misuse of antibiotics in people for viral illnesses contributes to antibiotic resistance as well, but responsible doctors are careful not to prescribe them unnecessarily.

Formerly, people becoming ill because of ingesting harmful microbes on raw meat recovered quickly when treated with antibiotics.  But today, people increasingly suffer serious illness, complications or death because the superbugs are difficult to control.  The danger is especially significant for young children, older persons, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems.

SOURCE:  Environmental Working Group (EWG) news releases, May 13, 2013


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