This startling story hit the wires on Sunday, December 27th of this week. Oswaldo Juarez, 19, of Peru came to the United States to study English. He became ill with a cough that wouldn’t go away, and then began to experience “rattling” lungs. The strain, XXDR, has never before been seen in the United States. It is so rare that less than a dozen people were thought to have contracted it.
The cause is none other than overuse of antibiotics in our medical communities and in the food system. If this is not proof of our industrial food system killing us, I don’t know what is.
This information is not new to the media or health communities. Doctors and health officials have been releasing information for years about drug-resistant diseases all over the globe from Malaria to MRSA, and from step to staph. We are literally inundated with bacteria that are predicted to become stronger and more resistant as time goes on. This particular case of TB was discovered back in June of this year, but until now was apparently kept “quiet” due to its insidious nature.
Approximately 75 percent of antibiotics used are found in the meat or dairy products of animals we consume. The majority of the meat and dairy eaten in the United States originates from CAFOs – concentrated animal feeding operations where many animals are crammed together in the most unnatural and unhealthy conditions.
Just yesterday, MSNBC also released this story about drug-resistant bacteria found in meat from factory farms yesterday.Animals and birds are administered antibiotics (among other toxic substances) to combat pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. E. coli and salmonella are common in the digestive tracts and on the hides and feathers of animals due to unsanitary conditions and the types of feed the animals consume. When livestock and poultry consume soy, corn, grains, silage, and other industrial feeds, virulent strains of bacteria are much more likely to develop as the digestive tracts of these animals is not intended to process these substances.
Arguments from pharmaceutical companies and farm groups say that antibiotic use keeps food costs down and animals healthy. But at what cost to the health industry, the environment, and the consumer? Lobbyists from these groups and companies are well-known for repeatedly defeating proposed limits on antibiotic use in Congress. Drug-resistant infections have been responsible for killing approximately 65,000 people in 2009.
This problem is now coming to a head, but there is something we can do about it. Don’t buy meat and dairy products from conventional and industrial sources – buy your meat and dairy, and all your food local and from growers and producers who use sustainable methods! Talk to your farmers and food growers, and get to know their practices. Support your local economy and your environment and health will truly flourish!
Want more information about industrial meat and sustainable meat? Read the following articles:
Probiotics – the friendly bacteria that we need in our gut to keep bad bacteria away
My adventures in making yogurt - yogurt from sustainable milk contains friendly bacteria essential to health!