December 27, 2011, 9:00 pm
Bacteria 1, F.D.A. 0
By MARK BITTMAN
Mark Bittman is an Opinion columnist and the Times magazine’s food columnist; his Minimalist column ran in the Dining section of The Times for more than 13 years. In 2009, Mr. Bittman, who has been urging Americans to change the way we eat for decades, published “Food Matters,” which explored the crucial connections among food, health and the environment. His most recent book is “The Food Matters Cookbook”; he is also the author of “How to Cook Everything” and “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian,” among others. Mr. Bittman’s television series include “Bittman Takes on America’s Chefs,” “The Best Recipes in the World,” “Spain: On the Road Again” and an upcoming series based on his Minimalist column. His Web site is markbittman.com.
Earlier this month, the Maine-based grocery chain Hannaford issued a ground beef recall after at least 14 people were infected with an antibiotic-resistant strain of salmonella. Chances are this is the first you’ve heard of it. After all, it’s not much compared to the 76 illnesses and one death back in August that led Cargill to recall almost 36 million pounds of ground turkey products potentially contaminated with drug-resistant salmonella. The particulars get confusing, but the trend is unmistakable: our meat supply is frequently contaminated with bacteria that can’t readily be treated by antibiotics.
A study earlier this year by a nonprofit research center in Phoenix analyzed 80 brands of beef, pork, chicken and turkey from five cities and found that 47 percent contained staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that can cause anything from minor skin infections to pneumonia and sepsis, more technically called systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), and commonly known as blood poisoning — but no matter what you call it, plenty scary. Of those bacteria, 52 percent were resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics. So 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.
Read the full story here: The New York Times
- Becteria 1, F.D.A. 0 (markbittman.com)