Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Super bugs in supermarkets


During the last election campaign, I read that there are about 38,000 full and part-time lobbyists in Washington pushing the corporate interests of the top 1 percent. Less than 1,000 lobbyists are there to look after the interests of the rest of us, the 99 percent. The drug industry which, broadly-defined, also includes Monsanto, ConAgra and other industrial users and manufaturers of agricultural drugs, spends more on lobbying than the 1,000 who protect you and me.

While big business shills like Darrell Issa and his acolyte Tom McClintock chase Benghazi chimeras, they choose to ignore the real harm their corporate friends are visiting upon us. In February, the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (a joint project of the FDA, CDC and USDA) published a report on drug-resistant superbugs commonly found in supermarket meats. The figures are scary. Eighty-one percent of 480 samples of supermarket ground turkey, for example, contained various strains of bugs such as e-coli, super salmonella, and more serious microbes such as variants of Campylobacter jejuni, a bug connected to Guillain-Barre Syndrome and other forms of paralysis. Yes, eight out of 10 packages of ground turkey were found to be tainted.

Ground turkey is not the only culprit: 69 percent of pork, 55 percent of beef and 39 percent of chicken breasts, wings and thighs also contained drug-resistant bugs, some of which are already resistant to today’s antibiotics. Of course, meat sellers tell us to cook our meats to a crisp and thereby kill the bugs. However, how do you deal with meat handling in the supermarket? Many packages leak, often due to rough handling by customers who rummage through the meat case with reckless abandon. Kids touch what’s in the cart, including leaky meat packages. Is it reasonable to ask us to disinfect our bodies, clothes and kitchen counters every time we come back from the supermarket? Wouldn’t it be simpler not to have the problem of tainted meats in the first place?

The FDA/CDC/USDA report was ignored by the right-wing press, such as the Wall Street Journal, because it deals with scientific facts and figures and reaches conclusions that are ideologically unacceptable to people like McClintock and his corporate donors. The so-called liberal press ignored it because drug and agri-business advertising dollars help keep the press afloat.

Most of us think, erroneously it turns out, that the largest use of antibiotics is for humans. In 2011, 7.7 million pounds of antibiotics went to human use, while 29.9 million pounds were used in meat and poultry production. The FDA has attempted to regulate the industrial use of antibiotics in the raising of animals destined to human consumption. The results have been predictable: the drug and farming interests won and we lost. Instead of strong protections for our health, we have industry-designed, self-policing, non-mandatory guidelines, the same kind of industry-designed, self-policing, non-mandatory guidelines the financial industry had before 2008. It worked so well for the economy that it’s worth repeating for our health.

To find out more about “Superbugs Invade American Supermarkets,” go to and look for the 2013 Meat Eaters Guide.


Letters to the Editor


Discussion | 26 comments

  • Phil VeerkampJune 06, 2013 - 5:36 pm

    Ah! On time, John. Thanks!

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  • robertdnollJune 06, 2013 - 6:55 pm

    big plastic bubble

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  • JohnJune 09, 2013 - 10:19 pm

    Phil: More clarity, less cuteness in your comments, please. My wife thinks you and I are doing something illicit.

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  • Phil VeerkampJune 10, 2013 - 4:06 am


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  • MartinJune 14, 2013 - 5:08 pm

    This seems like a good time throw a curve! If natural cures were allowed on the market the FDA would be SOL, if they can’t patent it they lobby for laws to keep it off the market. I have used natural cures for everything from sinus to diverticulitis with complete success; superbugs are no match for a few natural cures. Their are many testimonials about serious health problems that drugs couldn’t kill but natural products worked that includes drug resistant strains of MERSA and flesh eating bacteria, sure they “our lords in the government” would put you in jail if you tried to market them as a cure so they are distributed through health food stores like GNC with the ever so menacing labels with warning statements informing the buyer that they have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. I am without a doubt sure that 50% of the cost for health care could be curved by them allowing natural cures to be prescribed by doctors and treated the same as manmade antibiotics. Product cost is minimal in comparison to the ever skyrocketing cost of FDA Pharmaceutical drugs, which in a lot of cases don’t work. Mersa would become a strain of the past, blind studies are good but testimonials from thousands of stricken recipients have got to outweigh blind studies.

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  • rodJune 14, 2013 - 6:32 pm

    "Wouldn’t it be simpler not to have the problem of tainted meats in the first place?" That would be like trying to confiscate ALL the guns in the US. Actually John one safe solution was presented not long ago... it was the process of irradiating meat. Harmless, no residue, no chemicals, nada and VERY effective on bacteria... but NOOooo. it was the dems that voted it down. Hmmm that would be folks exactly like YOU?

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  • DBJune 14, 2013 - 6:41 pm

    Thank you for JOHN Garon. Not very many of his kind in EL Dorado County. I lived in Pollock Pines for 17 years but decided to move back to the Bay Area for a few reasons one of which are the people. But my son is in Placerville and I always remind him to be careful with all those angry republicans and tea party people. They are a scary group!

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  • MartinJune 14, 2013 - 6:50 pm

    Thank God

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  • cookie65June 15, 2013 - 8:00 am

    Do you remember Mrs. clinton earning $100,000 in profit in 1979 on a $1,000 investment over the course of only 9 months in volatile cattle futures, about which she knew nothing, thanks to help from a highly placed Tyson Foods connection? Tyson profited handsomely in Arkansas, with state loans and appointments. We are to believe that clinton studied the Wall Street Journal to achieve a feat against which the odds were one in 250 million.

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  • cookie65June 15, 2013 - 8:23 am

    The two main character flaws with leftists are the struggles they have with honesty and mathematics.

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  • cookie65June 15, 2013 - 8:42 am

    garon thinks he votes for people who care about him. He is clueless beyond excuse. I got kicked of huffpo (fencepost) for explaining to them how leftism is only good for those at the top of the food chain. World travel, five star everything, private jets, expensive champagne, caviar, top billing entertainment and all the taxpayer funded perks, for those on the bottom, history hasn't changed, moldy bread and headcheese. Scraps and crumbs. This is an accurate portrayal of obama's Africa trip.

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  • cookie65June 15, 2013 - 9:39 am

    Washington state legislators bill the taxpayers for $77,000 in per diem and get nothing done. The ruling class.

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  • Money eating politiciansJune 15, 2013 - 2:08 pm

    Politicians, in general go where the money is, not just the democrats, but it is fun to blame everything on the "leftists." Mr. Cookie, you got kicked out of "huffpo" because you are disrespectful. Disrespectful to anyone, anything that does not agree with your early childhood brainwashing. And uncontrollable ranting is prohibited. Good going, daddy! You really should have gone to college. Poor baby.

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  • cookie65June 16, 2013 - 7:26 am

    The only thing prohibited at fencepost is disagreeing with the mental midget groupthink. There is nothing about leftism that is respectable. It is a lie from inception to it's inevitable failure. The only people who buy into it are brainwashed. At what point of adulthood did you become entitled to what other people work for and earn? How come with all your enlightenment you need cradle to grave government? How come every braindead leftists had no clue what an unequaled failure and national embarrassment obama would be? Where is the hope and change and all that utopia you voted for? Go back to huffpo and get told only what you want to hear because any who disagrees gets deleted. Thanks for shackling this country with a Marxist community organizer who's only gift is one of BS and blame.

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  • cookie65June 16, 2013 - 8:43 am

    You know what is truly sad about money eating politician? He won't even take the responsibility to educate himself. With billions and billion of bits of information at his fingertips he his completely satisfied with being told what to believe. Truly pathetic. Donate your brain to science, you aren't using it. There is a site set up for people of your intellectual curiosity, it is called huffpo. And don't forget to swing by and catch rachel madcow for some seriously thoughtful perspective. She can't even get the braindead lemmings to watch her.

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  • Money eating politiciansJune 16, 2013 - 1:09 pm

    Mr. Cookie, because I think you are a disrespectful ranter, you think I am a liberal, "huffpo", "maddow" follower. You see, I voice my opinion, and you attack, rant and assume. Not all conservatives think and act like you. A closed mind is an ignorant mind.

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  • Kirk W MacKenzieJune 16, 2013 - 1:47 pm

    Money -- Don't mind Cookie, s/he has Political Tourette's.

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  • cookie65June 16, 2013 - 3:03 pm

    Money, here is your "opinion" you voiced from 2:08 pm June 15, "Mr. Cookie, you got kicked out of “huffpo” because you are disrespectful. Disrespectful to anyone, anything that does not agree with your early childhood brainwashing. And uncontrollable ranting is prohibited. Good going, daddy! You really should have gone to college. Poor baby." Please tell me how you define a closed ignorant mind and a disrespectful rant. You are just another lock-step intolerant groupthink leftist who isn't used to people giving it back to you. You are the one who defended the most intolerant, closed minded, leftist cheerleading source of misinformation on the internet. By the way arianna huffington inherited her money by marrying a very successful capitalist who later died. She was a conservative until she realized how simple it was to make money buy feeding a bunch of emotionally driven children anger and hate. She then made millions and didn't share a dime of her capitalistic profit with the people she used to make it. There is the truth about leftists for you. They are only ever generous with other peoples money. And Kirk, your problem is you truly don't understand leftists. Which is why you are so sensitive to what I do and how I talk to them. You mistakenly believe that they can be influenced by logic and reason. THEY CANNOT. They are emotionally dependent. Logic and reason do not function in a liberal mind. You have yourself convinced that somewhere within their soul there is some flicker of light. I wish it were true, but there is only darkness. Leftists love "moderates" because they always get their way with them. Bend over and take what the leftists give you while patting yourself on the back for how agreeable you can be.

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  • Kirk W MacKenzieJune 16, 2013 - 3:17 pm

    Cookie -- what you don't understand -- or maybe you do -- is that you are helping those very "leftists" more than they could help themselves. Ms Clinton appreciates every post you make.

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  • cookie65June 16, 2013 - 3:31 pm

    You believe what the left tells you to believe. Be nice and don't expose the lie of leftism and the American people will like you better. How is that strategy working? Is John McCain your idol? Have you seen this?

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  • cookie65June 16, 2013 - 3:38 pm

    If the left could write you a letter it would say "thank you for playing by our rules and rolling over until freedom and liberty are just an asterisk in the history books."

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  • cookie65June 16, 2013 - 4:46 pm

    For all of you who can't wipe without government.

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  • cookie65June 16, 2013 - 5:04 pm

    Isn't this where obama cut his teeth community organizing on his way to being the most qualified ever to be elected pResident? Wow, he sure was effective. No wonder his college transcripts are more heavily guarded than your happy fathers day email to your dad.

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  • Money eating politiciansJune 16, 2013 - 6:54 pm

    Cookie, how easily your run to rant. 4 simple sentences and you go way off...Yes, Mrs. Clinton and the liberals probably do appreciate people like you because you are a clear representative of the crazed other side of the coin. And you still assume. The ability to post....good therapy. Now, get some rest.

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  • NancyJune 16, 2013 - 7:27 pm

    Mr. Garon, you can help yourself by washing your hands after touching a shopping cart. Wear gloves when preparing meat and cook it well. Wipe your countertops with a disinfectant wipe daily. When shopping, place your meat and veggies in a plastic bag that you can throw away when you get home. Super bugs are in many places. Just hope you never have to be admitted to a hospital. Protect yourself from the bugs and rely less on the government. They aren't going to save us.

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  • Phil VeerkampJune 16, 2013 - 8:02 pm

    John, do you wash with anti-bacterial soap regularly? If anti-bacterial soap is your default cleanser then you are participating in the acceleration of the evolutionary progression toward more robust super bacteria.

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