drug resistance

  1. Supermarket chicken crawling with germs

    Chicken found loaded with superbugs

    I hope chicken's not on the menu tonight, because I've got some news that's bound to spoil your appetite: Just about every package of chicken you could buy at a supermarket is crawling with germs.

    A full 97 percent of all chicken recently sampled by Consumer Reports tested positive for disease-causing bacteria -- and many of those germs are of the fecal variety.

    Yes, chicken... well... chicken you-know-what.

    Four out of five chickens tested positive for the poop germ enterococcus, while E. coli was found in 65 percent. Many of the chickens also contained a virtual All-Star Team of the Food Poisoning League: campylobacter, klebsiella pneumonia, salmonella and staphylococcus aureus.

    Believe it or not, that's not even the worst of the news -- because half of all packaged chicken contains bacteria resistant to at least three classes of medication, and 11 percent contained two or more of these drug-resistant germs, according to the study.

    That means getting sick off your chicken could lead to more than just a few days locked in the bathroom, battling leaks from both ends.

    No, getting sick off your chicken could mean a battle for your life with a tough-to-beat or even untreatable superbug infection. (And some of the treatments that do work are even more nauseating than a plate of undercooked chicken -- read this to learn more.)

    Now, I happen to like chicken, especially the dark meat, and I'm sure you do too -- and I'd hate for anyone to have to give it up.

    The good news is you don't have to.

    Drug resistant bugs are created by exposure to drugs. Basic, yes, but factory farms haven't quite grasped this yet. They're pumping chickens full of antibiotics because the drugs make the birds so fat they can barely walk.

    As I told you recently, this problem is not about to get better anytime soon.

    But you can beat the bugs and drugs alike by getting organic chickens from small local farms. Since they're not given drugs, they're less likely to have the worst bugs -- and you're less likely to get sick.

  2. The danger coming from America's farms

    Feds refuse to act on farmyard drugs

    The feds are in a tizzy over a lab-created bird flu virus they fear can be weaponized and turned into a super killer, yet they won't say a word about the other "labs" churning out superbugs... America's factory farms.

    These places have become the world's most dangerous biological weapons facilities, where the mass overuse of antibiotics is creating a frightening new wave of drug-resistant bacteria.

    It's only a matter of time before one of them turns into the world's next great killer -- and when it does, it's going to make the flu scare look like a Disney cartoon.

    Now the feds claim they're FINALLY going to limit antibiotics on factory farms, but don't be fooled by the headlines -- because this move is pure window dressing.

    The new limits only apply to one class of drugs, the cephalosporins that are supposed to fight salmonella.

    Not only is that pathetically too little -- but it comes much too late, because there have been at least five outbreaks of drug-resistant salmonella IN HUMANS in recent years.

    Since bacteria don't unlearn drug resistance, that's bad news -- and not just when it comes to salmonella. The cephalosporins are also used to treat pneumonia, urinary infections, skin infections, meningitis, and more.

    In case you're wondering, bacteria can pass along resistance traits to each other -- so once one of them learn, the rest catch on.

    Even worse, the new rules STILL allow for plenty of cephalosporins on factory farms -- as long as they're used when animals are actually sick, which is pretty much all the time in those festering, overcrowded stinkholes.

    And the new rules don't even touch on the gajillions of other antibiotics routinely pumped into the animals on factory farms. In fact, up to 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the nation are given to livestock -- and many of them, like penicillin and tetracycline, are literally put into the feed.

    We're running out of time here. For all we know, the next great superbug is already sitting on one of those farms, ready to bust out in the next shipment of hamburger.

    And by the time to feds are ready to take real action, it could already be too late.

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