Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

One Quarter Of U.S. Poultry And Meat Tainted With Resistant Bacteria

A schematic representation of how antibiotic r...

Image via Wikipedia

From a 15 April 2011 Medical News Today article

7% of poultry and meat samples were found to be contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, and half of those with bacteria resistant to three or more classes of antibiotics, researchers from the Translational Genomics Research Institute wrote in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases[full text].

Strains of drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as S. aureus, are bacteria associated with several human diseases and appear to be widespread in the poultry and meat sold in American retail outlets. The researchers were surprised the contamination rate was so high.

The authors explain that theirs is the first nationwide assessment of contamination of the U.S. food supply with antibiotic resistant S. aureus.

According to the results of genetic (DNA) tests that were carried out, it appears that the major source of contamination is from livestock (farm animals).

Proper cooking of S. aureus tainted poultry and meats should kill off all bacteria. However, there is a risk of human infection if the food is not handled properly during the preparation of meals….

…Senior author, Lance B. Price, Ph.D., said:

“For the first time, we know how much of our meat and poultry is contaminated with antibiotic-resistant Staph, and it is substantial.

The fact that drug-resistant S. aureus was so prevalent, and likely came from the food animals themselves, is troubling, and demands attention to how antibiotics are used in food-animal production today.”

The authors explained that highly industrialized farming, where animals are densely packed together and fed steady low doses of antibiotic, are perfect breeding grounds for drug-resistant bacteria to thrive, and then make their way into humans.

Dr. Price said:

“Antibiotics are the most important drugs that we have to treat Staph infections; but when Staph are resistant to three, four, five or even nine different antibiotics – like we saw in this study – that leaves physicians few options.”

Paul S. Keim, Ph.D., co-author, said:

“The emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria – including Staph – remains a major challenge in clinical medicine.

This study shows that much of our meat and poultry is contaminated with multidrug-resistant Staph. Now we need to determine what this means in terms of risk to the consumer.”…

April 16, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free range and other meat and poultry terms

From the Mayo Clinic article

“Free range,” “natural” and “antibiotic-free” are among the common terms on meat, poultry and egg packages today. Do these terms guide your purchases either because of concerns about food quality or animal welfare? Then you should know that terms such as free range, antibiotic-free, natural and others may not actually mean what you think they do. In some cases, terms you find on packages are regulated under federal organic rules, while others are standard regardless of organic status. Other terms aren’t regulated at all, and some may have no relevance to animal welfare even if they sound like they do. Take a closer look.

The article goes on to define terms as antibiotic-free, cage-free, certified humane, chemical free, free-range or free roaming, grain fed, grass fed, hormone free, naturally raised, pasture raised, vegetarian fed

Some related Mayo Clinic articles

A sampling of organic food Web sites (via Internet Public Library)

Information about the organic standards program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Explains the “USDA Organic” labels found on food and beverage packaging, marketing phrases (such as “organic,” which “must consist of at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt)”), news and updates, and material for producers and retailers.

This advocacy site for organic farming features articles and reports on subjects such as pesticides in foods, nutritional quality, antioxidants, and food safety. Also find links to related sites. From an organization whose mission is “to generate credible, peer reviewed scientific information and communicate the verifiable benefits of organic farming and products to society.”

A “national consumer advocacy organization committed to educating, uniting, and organizing organic consumers. We will actively work to protect the integrity of organic food, and dramatically increase its accessibility to the point where sustainable agriculture becomes the dominant form of food and fiber production in the US and across the world.” Provides news, calendar of events, book reviews, links to other resources.


November 19, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Finding Aids/Directories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: