The problem of widespread and indiscriminate use of small doses of antibiotics in animal feed is widely regarded as leading to the development of antibiotic resistant disease strains such as MSRA. Nicholas Kristof has has written about this in the New York Times years ago (here and here). And the problem has been widely discussed in the alternative media as well. What’s new in this story by Jane Black is a report on how the Dutch government is actually doing something to improve the situation. And if they can do it why couldn’t we?
From Jane Black, on Prevention.com
Photograph by Stuart Freedman (via Prevention)
“It’s the stench, a pungent mix of ammonia and wet earth, that gives it away. This neat row of brick buildings in the Dutch village of Bergeijk is a massive chicken farm. Inside the six barns are 175,000 birds, hidden from the neighbors’ view and without any access to the outdoors or even natural light. To see them, visitors must slip into sterile blue jumpsuits and plastic booties, a low-tech but effective type of biosecurity that stops people from sneaking in any dangerous bacteria—or taking anything out. Continue reading
From Barry Estabrook, at On Earth:
“Feeding antibiotics to healthy livestock is leading to an emerging human health crisis — one scientists and the government have seen coming for decades
Stuart Levy once kept a flock of chickens on a farm in the rolling countryside west of Boston. No ordinary farmer, Levy is a professor of molecular biology and microbiology and of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. This was decades ago, and his chickens were taking part in a never-before-conducted study. Half the birds received feed laced with a low-dose of antibiotics, which U.S. farmers routinely administer to healthy livestock — not to cure illness, but merely to increase the animals’ rates of growth. The other half of Levy’s flock received drug-free food. Continue reading
From David Fisman and Sarah Elton, Postmedia news:
“Canadians, this week, are a little nervous around beef. For good reason.
“Verotoxigenic” E. coli (VTEC), which are often a strain known as E. coli O157: H7, are yet again causing an outbreak, with numerous Canadians sickened by tainted beef. Now what’s being called the country’s largest food recall is unfolding. We’re being told not to eat the steaks, hamburger and other beef products handled by Alberta’s XL Foods that have been sold in supermarkets across the country. Meanwhile, the federal government is under attack for not having protected our food from this bug, which generally causes bloody diarrhea and an associated blood and kidney disorder.
It will likely be many weeks before epidemiologists have a clearer picture of what’s happening. However, this is by no means a unique event. Continue reading
From Josh Wingrove and Dawn Walton, in the Globe and Mail:
XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alberta. Photo via Calgary Sun. Click image to go there.
“At each stage, the E. coli sneaked through. It came in with the feces caked on the hide of at least one cow, a so-called “super-shedder” of bacteria, and persevered. The E. coli wasn’t caught on the kill floor, survived cleaning and clung on during dehiding, in which a cow’s skin is peeled away.
It reached the cutting table – a bacteria watershed, where the cow is cut into different types of beef, including “trim,” the odds and ends that become hamburger. The E. coli went undetected in the 325 grams of beef trim tested from this particular 2,000-pound batch, so it moved through. When alarms sounded, it was in stores. Continue reading
From Daniel Langlois, in the Owen Sound Sun Times:
“DURHAM – Raw milk crusader Michael Schmidt is scheduled to return to a Toronto courtroom Thursday to seek leave to appeal 13 convictions related to the sale and distribution of unpasteurized milk.
Schmidt’s lawyer Karen Selick plans to argue that several errors of law were made in the leadup to the Durham-area farmer’s convictions and that granting leave to appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal is in the public interest.
“I don’t do things that are lost causes, so I think that the mere fact that we are going forward with this application for leave indicates that I think we have a reasonable chance of success,” she said Tuesday. Continue reading
Yes, raw milk farmer and food rights advocate Michael Schmidt will be taking to the airwaves again this afternoon to spread the word to radio listeners in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond. Tune in to the show on CFRB at 1010 on the AM dial.
Michael Schmidt, Grey County farmer and ambassador to Canada for raw milk, raising a glass following sentencing last year outside the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Newmarket.
Michael will be talking about the current e-coli crisis and Galen Weston’s recent statement that farmers markets are going to kill somebody someday.
From David E. Gumpert at the Complete Patient blog:
“Back in the fall of 2006, the California Department of Food and Agriculture shut down Organic Pastures Dairy Co. after the state identified six children it said were sickened by E.coli O157:H7. Inspectors invaded the dairy and carried out hundreds of manure and environmental tests. The dairy was only allowed to resume productionsome two weeks later, after its owner, Mark McAfee, called a press conference to protest that the CDFA was dragging its heels in lifting its quarantine–he threatened legal action and consumer protests.
Five years later, and the story has unfolded in amazingly similar fashion. The CDFA shuttered Organic Pastures four weeks ago, after California health authorities connected the dairy with five illnesses from E.coli O157:H7 scattered around the state. Extensive testing of manure samples and the OPDC facilities was carried out. Continue reading