HERD ABOUT IT?
by Ana Grarian
When did going out for dinner get more dangerous than sex?
Almost half of the meat and poultry sold at U.S. supermarkets and grocery stores contains a type of bacteria that is potentially harmful to humans, a new study estimates.
Researchers tested 136 packages of chicken, turkey, pork, and ground beef purchased at 26 grocery stores in five cities around the country, and found that 47 percent contained Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), a common cause of infection in people.
What’s more, roughly half of the contaminated samples contained strains of the bacteria that were resistant to at least three antibiotics, such as penicillin and tetracycline. Some strains were resistant to a half dozen or more.
The other day my granddaughter had a sore spot under her arm when she went to bed. By morning it was large, red and hard. Within the day it was the size of a golf ball.
We are well versed with MRSA sores in our family. Fortunately this recurring infection mostly affects the two adults. As we are carriers of CA-MRSA (community associated MRSA), sores can initiate from something as simple as an irritation from something rubbing against us. In this case it was my granddaughter’s sports uniform.
We are relatively healthy otherwise, so we have learned, with the help of our physician, to treat the abscesses at home, keep them clean and covered, and to wait for them to open and drain, as long as there are not other indicators such as fever.
MRSA abscesses, even when tiny are very painful.
MRSA, an antibiotic resistant staph, was first discovered in 1961 shortly after the antibiotic methicillin was developed. Until 1998 MRSA infections were all related to hospital stays. MRSA is now found in schools, shoping, malls, playgrounds, everywhere in the US.
It has been discovered that we can be infected from handling raw meat.
(cooking well and pasteurization kill MRSA so consumption of adequately prepared foods should not be a problem.)
Three companies process almost 3/4 of the beef in the US and four slaughter more than half of our pork and chicken. In addition these huge meat refineries process huge numbers of carcasses at the same time, and ground meat products can contain the “trimmings” from butchering at many far flung plants including international sites. (Trimmings are treated with ammonia to make them “safe”)
It is increasingly clear that it is prudent to find the freshest, most local, and I would suggest smallest, meat producer/processor you can, and to be sure you handle meat in a sanitary manner, and cook it thoroughly.
It is important as well that we pressure our officials to reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock production (80% of antibiotics sold in the US go to animal use), and to use antibiotics wisely ourselves. Demanding livestock be raised in humane conditions is also vital. Antibiotic use in confinement agriculture is to combat the stress of unhealthy living conditions. These facilities create an unhealthy environment for workers too.