FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Which is Worse? Germs in Our Food or the Antibiotics That Kill Them?

If you want to lose weight the late comic Gilda Radner used to say, eat your lunch next to a car wreck. But this summer all you have to do is eat the food the FDA approves.

Recent recalls of pathogen tainted milk, meat, chicken and cheese make you wonder if E.coli, campylobacter, salmonella and listeria are the new four food groups.

Of course just because our food harbors harmful microbes doesn’t mean it’s not also full of antibiotics. Especially since dosing farm animals with antibiotics is why so many resistant microbes are in the food.

Seventy percent of all US antibiotics are fed to farm animals according to the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2009 (PAMTA) introduced by Louise Slaughter (D-NY) this spring. Over 80 percent of pig and sheep farms and cattle feedlots put antibiotics in the feed or water to produce growth with less feed and compensate, “for crowded, unsanitary and stressful farming and transportation conditions,” says the bill.

Forty-eight percent of our national streams are tainted with antibiotics says the bill and meat and poultry bought in US grocery stores shows, “disturbingly high levels of Campylobacter and Salmonella bacteria.”

Nor are the antibiotics only in the stream.

In April the FDA wrote Nappanee, IN dairy farmer Lyle J. Borkholder that a cow he sold “for slaughter as food” had excessive sulfadimethoxine–an antibiotic which affects the thyroid–hypothalamus axis– in its liver and muscle. In May, it wrote dairy farmers Alva Carter Jr. and Allen Carter in Portales, NM that their cow, also sold as human food, had excessive flunixin in its liver and desfuroylceftiofur in its kidneys, two other antibiotics.

Both farmers were told, “you hold animals under conditions that are so inadequate that medicated animals bearing potentially harmful drug residues are likely to enter the food supply.”

Worse, veterinarians who condemn the use of gentamicin in food animals, a tenacious antibiotic that destroys kidneys and hearing in humans, revealed in a survey in the current issue of Journal of Dairy Science that they believe Ohio farmers routinely and illegally use the drug in the cows they market.

Nor is mad cow or bovine spongiform encephalopathy a distant fear after the largest meat recall in US history last year, much of it destined for school lunch programs. In its final report on Chino, CA-based Hallmark Meat Company in November, the USDA found disease-spreading tissue called Specified Risk Material (SRM) is routinely left on edible carcasses–hello–and Food Safety and Inspection Services staff believe hand sanitizers kill prions. Not even radiation, Formaldehyde or 18 minutes in an autoclave kills prions, the agent that spreads mad cow disease.

The American Medical Association, Union of Concerned Scientists, Pew Charitable Trusts, most of the antibiotic-taking public and even Chipotle Gourmet Burritos and Tacos support PAMTA. But the pharmaceutical industry, which call itself the American Meat Institute when it is selling animal drugs, does not.

Not only would the legislation ban its current gravy train of penicillins, tetracyclines, macrolides, lincosamides, streptograminds, aminoglycosides and sulfonamides–the pharmaceutical industry wants to replace human drug profits with animal now that insurers are saying YOU WANT US TO SPEND WHAT? about new blockbuster drugs.

Nor is Big Meat happy. When the FDA announced a ban of just one type of antibiotic last year–cephalosporins–shills from the egg, chicken, turkey, dairy, pork and cattle industries stormed the Hill complaining that a ban would threaten their ability to keep animals “healthy.” But what do they mean by healthy?

Veal calves described in a government slaughter manual as “unable to rise from a recumbent position and walk because they are tired or cold”? (And refused by the wife of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Sarah, this month during her G8 visit to Italy?)

Tyson chickens, 11 percent of which “die of respiratory insufficiency; their bodies not found until six weeks later–or on slaughterhouse day,” according to Yanna Smith in Namibia’s SPACE Magazine? Suffering from “chicken madness” from ammonia fumes?

Antibiotic-enabled animal “health” was manifest when officials raiding an egg farm in Turner, Maine in December–on a tip from Mercy For Animals–had to be treated by doctors for breathing distress after entering the egg barns.

Photos show dazed state workers in Hazmat suits leaving the Quality Egg of New England barns, as disoriented by the sanitation abuses as the cruelty.

Nor were they hungry for lunch.

MARTHA ROSENBERG can be reached at: martharosenberg@sbcglobal.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
Dean Baker
Finance 202 Meets Economics 101
Abel Cohen
Forget Gun Control, Try Bullet Control
Robert Fantina
“Damascus Time:” An Iranian Movie
David Yearsley
Bach and Taxes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail