Did you know that most of America's commercial "factory farms" put antibiotics in feed for their chickens, turkeys, pigs, cows, etc.? Supposedly, this helps ward off diseases that afflict animals raised in cramped cages.
Did you know that the constant medication causes those animals to develop bacteria that are antibiotic-resistant -- and the bacteria often accompany meat to supermarket counters?
A nonprofit research center based in Phoenix analyzed 80 brands of beef, pork, chicken and turkey in five cities -- and found that 47 percent contained staphylococcus aureus, which can cause everything from skin infections to pneumonia to blood poisoning. Of the staph germs detected, half were antibiotic-resistant.
New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman wrote: "Our meat supply is frequently contaminated with bacteria that can't readily be treated by antibiotics. ... When you go to the supermarket to buy one of these brands of pre-ground meat products, there's a roughly 25 percent chance you'll consume a potentially fatal bacteria that doesn't respond to commonly prescribed drugs."
Good grief -- that's horrifying.
Back in 1997, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed banning antibiotics in livestock feed, but Congress stalled the plan, and the FDA finally dropped it in December. Now, the agency says it will ask big-money factory farms to cease doping voluntarily. Fat chance. Too much money is at stake.
Antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections cost America's medical system $16 billion to $26 billion per year, Bittman wrote.We hope West Virginia's members of Congress pursue ways to protect people from this disturbing danger.