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My stream is filled with articles on meat production, so consider this a public service announcement. 87 percent of supermarket meat — including beef, pork, chicken, and turkey products — tests positive for normal and antibiotic-resistant forms of Enterococcus bacteria. Fifty percent of ground turkey contains resistant E. coli, 10 percent of chicken parts and ground turkey tests positive for resistant salmonella, and 26 percent of chicken parts come contaminated with resistant campylobacter. Resistant or not, the mere presence of these types of microbes means the majority of our meat comes into contact with fecal matter at some point.  Hungry yet?

The government recently admitted something a lot of conscious eaters probably already suspect: A significant majority of supermarket meat is contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. But it did so vewwy, vewwy quietly. It came buried in the FDA’s 2011 Retail Meat Report, which reveals the results from periodic testing of common supermarket meat products for bacterial contamination and bacterial resistance to multiple antibiotics. The FDA leaves these numbers opaque, but thanks to calculations by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) using the government’s data, we know just how terrifying these results are.

The threat of these superbugs goes beyond the academic. Three of the bugs listed above cause tens of thousands of illnesses and hundreds of deaths a year. Resistant salmonella-tainted meat recently caused several outbreaks, one of them quite deadly. And E. coli from supermarket chicken has been linked to millions of antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections in women


EWG concludes that "we must assume that all meat is contaminated with disease-causing bacteria.”

80% of all antibiotics consumed in US go to food animals, eating meat creates a great health risk and livestock production is a major contributor to climate change and resource depletion (pdf). The consumption of meat seems to belie the definition of food which is : any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc.  Perhaps it should now be labeled as hazardous to your health.


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