Is the use of antibiotics on livestock causing antibiotic resistant bacteria.

            For decades the meat industry has denied ant problem with its reliance on routine, everyday antibiotic use for the nations chickens, cows and pigs. Antibiotic use on livestock farms has surged in recent years- from 20 million pounds annually in 2003 to 30 million pounds in 2011. Over the same period, the entire human population has consumed 8 million pounds per year. Which means that livestock farms now suck in 80% of the antibiotics consumed in the U.S. Meanwhile the industry routinely churns out meat containing an array of antibiotic resistant pathogens.

                The meat industry does not seem to take any of this seriously. The websites of the major industry trade groups, the American Meat Institute, the National Chicken Council, the National Pork Producers Council, all insist current antibiotic practices are safe. The main reason they can claim this with a straight face is that while scientists have long suspected that drug resistant pathogens can jump from antibiotic treated animals to humans, its been notoriously difficult to prove. The obstacle is ethics, you wouldn’t want to extract, antibiotic resistant salmonella from a turkey and inject it into a person just to see what happens. The risk of what the Center for Disease Control and Prevention politely calls treat and failure, death, would be to great. But this reason is fraying quickly. The latest gene sequence study from Denmark that documents 2 cases of MRSA, a deadly antibiotic resistant staph infection, jumping from farm animals to people.

          After analyzing the mutations of the MRSA strains in the women and animals, the researchers concluded that it had been circulating among the livestock before jumping to the people. This study comes on the heels of a 2012 paper by a consortium of U.S. and European researchers. It used gene sequencing to show that another common strainer of MTSA originated in humans as a common staph infection, jumped to livestock, where it evolved resistance to the common antibiotics tetracycline and methicillin and then jumped back to humans. If course you can also contract antibiotic resistant pathogens through contanct with raw meat. For example, more than 109 people did when the agribusiness giant Cargill sent out 10s of millions of pounds of ground turkey tainted with antibiotic resistant salmonella in 2011.

         The studies shine a hard light on another key industry claim. The public needn’t worry about antibiotic use on farms because the FDA has extensive guidelines about how antibiotics must be used to ensure the safety for both humans and animals. It is true the FDA has limited the use of a few specific antibiotics on farms. But the GDA was restricting antibiotics that weren’t used anymore.

              In fact the FDA offers only voluntary guidelines on judicious use. In fact antibiotic use on feedlots is a free for all. The FDA operates with very little information about the gusher of antibiotics entering factory farms is being used. Both the animal pharmaceutical industry and the livestock industry treat most data on antibiotic use as a tightly held secret. How much of the 30 million pounds of antibiotics now used on factory farms goes to sick animals and how much goes to making them grow faster? None of this is public information.

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The Monsanto Protection Act.

                The Monsanto Protection Act or HR 933 was signed into law about a week ago. It has many food, consumer advocates and organic farmers very upset because they believe HR933, is a give away to corporations under the cover of darkness. Here are some of the reasons people are upset about the bill.

            The Monsanto Protection Act effectively bans federal courts from being able to halt the sale of contreversial genetically modified (alarm GMO) or genetically engineered seeds (GE). No matter what health issues arise in the future the courts are now powerless. What is very upsetting is that there are not enough studies into potential health risks. Even when the studies are completed,  the courts have henna stripped of their power to do anything about it. The provisions langauge was apparently written with Monsanto. Republican Roy Blunt of Missouri, actually worker with Monsanto on a provision that in effect allows them to keep selling seeds, which will then be planted, even if they are found harmful to consumers.

                What is most disturbing is that it strips judges of their constitutional mandate to protect consumer rights and the environment. It is very dangerous because there will be no oversight into the planting or testing of genetically engineered seeds. It effectively strips consumers of any protection we might have. It also enables GMOs to evade any serious studies or regulatory reviews. Didn’t we try something like this with the banking industry. That worked really well.

               Monsanto is no stranger to our political or judicial system, especially when it comes to influencing it. 8 lawmakers own stock in Monsanto; Senator Lay Hagans ( D-NC), Representatives Dave Camp (R-MI), Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Michael Mccaul (R-TX), Jim Rennaci (R-OH, Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Fred Upton (R-MI). Monsanto spent nearly $6 million in lobbying in 2012 and contributed about $500,000 to federal candidates in last election.

                  There is plenty of scientific evidence to recommend caution with respect to certain kinds of genetic modification, especially if the genes involved contain antibiotic resistance. Some studies depicting problems with GMOs have been called out by other scientists as flawed. But many doctors warn against GMO foods, saying the more if them we eat the greater potential harm to our health. I will tend to believe a doctor before a scientist who maybe being paid by the industry it is refuting the study on. This is very dangerous fir Americans because GMO foods are flooding the market and we do not know the health costs.

                    I am a strong President Obama supporter, but I think he dropped the ball on this one. Republicans don’t look out for the people and Democrats really messed up on this one. They robbed us of our protection. If something goes wrong with GMOs in the future, what are our options?

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Pesticides in our food.

              Pesticides are toxic by design.They are expressly created to kill living organisms. Many pesticides do pose dangers to humans. These risks have been established by independent research and physicians across the world. Pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems such as, brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormone disruption, skin, eye and lung irritation.

              The US Department of Agriculture produce tests have found widespread pesticide contamination on popular fruits and vegetables. At least one pesticide was found on 68% of the samples analyzed for shoppers guide. 11% of those samples had 5 or mire pesticide residues. Pesticide levels were particularly high in tomatoes, peaches, apples, peppers, grapes, lettuce, broccoli, strawberries, spinach, dairy, pears, green beans and celery.

             A U.S. study found that pre-school children are in particular danger to the dangerous chemicals and pesticides used on our fruits and veggies. Pesticides and other chemicals used in growing our foods may be putting young children at a greater risk of developing cancer later in life. A study of 364 children, 207 of which were under 5, found safety consumption bebchmarks were exceeded for arsenic, dieldrin, DDE and dioxins. In addition 95% of pre-school children exceeded non-cancer risk levels for acrylamide, a cooking product normally found in potato chips.

                 Organic foods are produced using methods of organic farming, they do not use synthetic pesticides or chemicals. Nor do they use irrigation, industrial solvents or cgemical foid additives. Organic farmers have to obtain special certification to market their food as organic in many states. Although up to now the evudence is insufficent on whether organic food is safer or more healthy than conventional food.

                The last statement I find odd but that us what I found. Tge Department of Agriculture said that regardless of pesticides it is important to eat fruit, veggies and grains. It would seem to me that organic is safer, but for poor people it is out of price range. I think it is important to note that the uptick in cancer may have something to do with pesticide use. That is also putting more stress on our health care system.


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