We are losing the war on germs.
Antibiotic resistance for common illnesses is increasing. With over 2,500 strains of salmonella alone, the bugs are winning. The meat industry is only required to voluntarily submit data to the FDA and refuses in part, because of the potential of damaging their reputation. Powerful lobbying in Washington has tied the hands of the FDA and the CDC.
To make matters worse, about 80% of antibiotic use goes into agriculture.
Furthering this, there is no system of tracking the source of meat in the United States. The EU has it. Each farm has a tracking number and it’s on every package of meal sold. So if you were to become ill, and it turned out to be from the meat, there would be a link.
A few years ago in Washington state there was an outbreak related to pork. The CDC was notified that over 50 people in 8 counties were sickened: 192 people sick, 30 were admitted to hospitals. The slaughterhouse in question received meat from 6 farms where the infection could have come from. Because the farms have to voluntarily give any information to inspectors, the investigation ended there.
A particularly virulent strain of salmonella, 4-5-12:i-minus, which resists ampicillin, streptomycin, sulfisoxazole and tetracycline, started in the 1980’s, has shown a 35% increase where other strains of salmonella have remained constant.
Non-meat eaters like vegans and vegetarians aren’t safe either. Animal waste has long been used on organic farms and once the bacteria get into the soil, anyone is fair game. Unless one is growing their own food, there is no guarantee that they are immune from an antibiotic-resistant illness.
The meat industry, as well as the pharmaceutical companies need to be held accountable. Until the FDA and CDC are allowed access, there is no slowing this descent into drug-resistant oblivion.