It’s the invasion of the superbugs!
Nope, I’m not talking about the latest summer blockbuster. This deadly takeover is here and now — and it’s happening right inside your favorite supermarket.
Only unlike some Hollywood “monster,” this threat is invisible to the naked eye. You’ll have no idea what’s lurking on that ground beef, turkey, or chicken — unless you go shopping with a microscope.
While this nightmare has reared its ugly head numerous times already, a just-out report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has revealed that up to 80 percent of the meat and poultry found in U.S. supermarkets contains antibiotic-resistant bacteria – those “superbugs” that are fast becoming immune to more and more of the antibiotics in our limited arsenal.
But you don’t have to wheel your trusty grill back into the garage… or start serving up tofu burgers… because there are three simple steps you can take to keep these dangerous pathogens off your plate.
A world without antibiotics
The feds and members of the meat industry are doing everything they can to put a happy face on this major threat to public health.
The FDA, for example, likes to argue that if a microbe is only resistant to one antibiotic, it’s not a problem.
But that claim is sheer baloney.
Genes can easily pass from one pathogen to another, and as that occurs more and more drugs to fight the infections they can cause become ineffective. And a world without antibiotics would send us back to those dark ages when a simple cut could turn deadly in the blink of an eye.
The meat industry has its own dog-and-pony show called “Meat Myth Crushers.” One video tries to convince us that superbugs are “very rare in nature and even more uncommon on meat and poultry.”
I don’t know where the American Meat Institute, the group that’s backing this attempt to turn off the alarm bells, gets such “facts” from. If you consult NARMS – the federal National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System — you’ll hear a far different story.
The latest EWG report was, in fact, based on that NARMS data. And it found that drug-resistant bacteria were discovered on practically 80 percent of ground turkey, 62 percent of ground beef, 71 percent of pork chops, and close to 40 percent of chicken parts – such as breasts, wings, and thighs.
And to think that turkey burgers are supposed to be healthier for us!
But this isn’t just a threat on paper. A few months ago, I told you about the recent discovery of over 200 pathogens with “unusual” resistance to antibiotics, and these superbugs have already proven to be proficient killers.
One strain, dubbed a “nightmare bacteria,” has been identified in hospitals across 27 states, and it’s known to be deadly to over 50 percent of those infected.
The danger posed by these antibiotic-resistant bugs has been years in the making — mostly due to our incredible overuse of antibiotics, both in people and healthy farm animals.
In a letter to the FDA, an EWG scientist says that we shouldn’t have to wait until “100 percent of the bacteria found on meat are untreatable” with antibiotics before the FDA takes “strong action.”
Well, I think the agency has made it perfectly clear that “action” isn’t even in its vocabulary!
That’s why it’s so important that you start taking these three simple steps to stay safe right now:
#1: Going organic where meat and poultry are concerned is no longer a luxury… but a necessity. Organically raised cows, turkeys, and chickens aren’t given antibiotics to help them grow faster, as factory-farmed animals are. And if they do get sick and need treatment, they’re no longer considered to be organic.
#2: Keep meat and poultry either in their own meat compartment or on the lowest shelf in your fridge, and make sure they’re wrapped well. That reduces the risk of drippings contaminating other food.
#3: Be extra careful when handling raw meat and poultry. It’s not necessary to rinse it off in the sink, and by doing so you can easily spread dangerous bacteria all over your kitchen with just a few drops of water. Also, make sure that cutting boards, silverware, and anything else that touches it goes right in the dishwasher or gets a hot, soapy wash before it comes into contact with any other food items.
You can also do your part to stem the tide of this entire superbug disaster by not using antibiotics for conditions they can’t treat! Doctors are still handing them out for viral (non-bacterial infections) that they were never meant for.
“Supermarket meat still superbugged, federal data show” Dawn Undurraga, June 28, 2018, Environmental Working Group, ewg.org