Friday, August 5, 2011

What the government doesn't want you to know about your food

Posted By on Fri, Aug 5, 2011 at 12:10 PM

It’s full of shit you would never, ever eat … like antibiotics that can lead directly to developing antibiotic resistance, which itself can put you at risk of suffering with, or dying from, some of the strains of superbugs like MRSA, tuberculosis, pneumonia, etc.

This MRSA boil began with a splinter.
  • Herbie Robinson
  • This MRSA boil began with a splinter.

From Mother Jones:

Here is a document the USDA doesn't want you to see. It's what the agency calls a "technical review"—nothing more than a USDA-contracted researcher's simple, blunt summary of recent academic findings on the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant infections and their link with factory animal farms. The topic is a serious one. A single antibiotic-resistant pathogen, MRSA—just one of many now circulating among Americans—now claims more lives each year than AIDS.

Back in June, the USDA put the review up on its National Agricultural Library website. Soon after, a Dow Jones story quoted a USDA official who declared it to be based on "reputed, scientific, peer-reviewed, and scholarly journals." She added that the report should not be seen as a "representation of the official position of USDA." That's fair enough—the review was designed to sum up the state of science on antibiotic resistance and factory farms, not the USDA's position on the matter.

But around the same time, the agency added an odd disclaimer to the top of the document: "This review has not been peer reviewed. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of Agriculture." And last Friday, the document (original link) vanished without comment from the agency's website. The only way to see the document now is through the above-linked cached version supplied to me by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

I’ve had MRSA, or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, five times — three times on my leg, once on my face and once on my neck. At first, my doctors accused me of abusing antibiotics, which was ridiculous; I’ve done nothing of the sort.

But, once MRSA was in my home it felt nearly impossible to get rid of. Then I heard Dr. Michael Hudson, a now-deceased biologist from UNC Charlotte, on “Charlotte Talks” talking about MRSA and how deadly it could be, and how we could avoid contracting it. I called him that day, and met with him a couple times later on. (Read: “Throw your soap away right now” ( — The University Times)

Here’s what he told me, and it’s advice I have lived by since … and the MRSA finally went away:

• Eat organic whenever possible. Mass-produced is full of antibiotics, hormones, and all kinds of other crap you don’t want to ingest.

• Stop using antibacterial soaps and products of all kinds. And, don’t dump them into our water supply, either.

• Bacteria isn’t bad. In fact, it’s critical for a healthy life; leave the bacteria alone.

And, yes, eating organic can be more expensive. But put that price increase up to the expenses related to time missed from work and school, the several hundred dollars (on top of what insurance pays) for each MRSA case, the every-other-day visits to the doctor’s office, and the ever-present fear of the bacteria getting out of control and killing you or someone you love, and I think you’ll agree that spending a couple extra bucks on groceries pales in comparison.

The lesson: Pay attention to what you’re putting in and on your bodies, people. And, pay attention to how our government and food producers choose to handle this public safety crisis.

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