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How to grill the perfect bison burger

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Op-Ed Columnist – The Spread of Superbugs – NYTimes.com

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OP-ED COLUMNIST

The Spread of Superbugs

By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

Published: March 6, 2010

Until three months ago, Thomas M. Dukes was a vigorous, healthy executive at a California plastics company. Then, over the course of a few days in December as he was planning his Christmas shopping, E. coli bacteria ravaged his body and tore his life apart.

Mr. Dukes is a reminder that as long as we’re examining our health care system, we need to scrutinize more than insurance companies. We also need to curb the way modern agribusiness madly overuses antibiotics, leaving them ineffective for sick humans.

Antibacterial drugs were revolutionary when they were introduced in the United States in 1936, virtually eliminating diseases like tuberculosis here and making surgery and childbirth far safer. But now we’re seeing increasing numbers of superbugs that survive antibiotics. One of the best-known — MRSA, a kind of staph infection — kills about 18,000 Americans annually. That’s more than die of AIDS.

Mr. Dukes, 52, picked up a kind of bacteria called ESBL-producing E. coli. While it’s conceivable that he touched a contaminated surface, a likely scenario is that he ate tainted meat, said Dr. Brad Spellberg, an infectious-diseases specialist and the author of “Rising Plague,” a book about antibiotic resistance.

Vegetarians are also vulnerable to antibiotic resistance nurtured in hog barns. Microbes swap genes, so antibiotic resistance developed in pigs can jump to microbes that infect humans in hospitals, locker rooms, schools or homes.

Routine use of antibiotics to raise livestock is widely seen as a major reason for the rise of superbugs. But Congress and the Obama administration have refused to curb agriculture’s addiction to antibiotics, apparently because of the power of the agribusiness lobby. Read More »

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Corn-fed Beef vs. Grass-fed Beef

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FDA mulling restrictions on livestock antibiotics | Des Moines Register Staff Blogs

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Let your voices be heard!!!  The following is an article about the possible limits on antibiotics in livestock.  Contact your representatives and senators and let them know you want antibiotics banned.  Everyone is worried about the all mighty dollar instead of our health and well being.

FDA mulling restrictions on livestock antibiotics

BLOG POST BY PHILIP BRASHER • PBRASHER@DMREG.COM • MARCH 10, 2010

The head of the Food and Drug Administration says the agency is continuing to look at possible restrictions on the use of antibiotics in livestock but pledged to consult with producers. Margaret Hamburg told a House subcommittee today that antibiotic resistance is one of the nation’s “foremost public health concerns” and there are clear linkages between the problem and the use of the drugs in farm animals.

“We are working closely with industry, listening to their concerns,” Hamburg said in response to a question from Rep. Tom Latham, R-Ia. “We are not going to move forward and institute a policy that we have not been able to base on sound science and evidence.”

She said the agency was looking at “regulatory pathways” to restrict animal antibiotic use but did not elaborate.

Last summer, an FDA official surprised the industry by calling for ending the use of antibiotics for growth promotion in livestock and requiring veterinary approval for all other uses of the drugs. Legislation pending in the House would ban the use of antibiotics for promoting growth in livestock.

“The use of antibiotics for growth promotion alone really needs to be scrutinized very, very closely,” Hamburg said. Read More »

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American Beef: Why is it Banned in Europe?

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HORMONES IN MEAT Fact Sheet

Most U. S. beef cattle are implanted with synthetic hormones in feedlots prior to slaughter.   On January 1, 1989 the European Economic Community (EEC) placed a ban on hormone-treated U. S. meat, preventing U. S. meat products from being sold in any European nations. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has challenged the ban and accused the EEC of unfair trade practices, but the action of European governments raises some important questions about American meat.

Q. Why did the Europeans (EEC) place a ban on hormone-raised meat?

A. The European Economic Community banned hormone-raised meat because of questions on the dangers of meat that has been treated with synthetic sex hormones. European consumers pressured the EEC to take this action to protect their health.

More than a decade ago, Roy Hertz, then director of endocrinology at the National Cancer Institute and a leading authority on hormonal cancers, warned of the carcinogenic risks of estrogenic additives which can cause imbalances and increases in natural hormone levels. Hertz warned against the uncontrolled use of these potent carcinogens. No dietary levels of hormones are safe and a dime-sized piece of meat contains-billions of millions of molecules.

Breast cancer has been raised as a primary concern in light of associations between breast cancer and oral contraceptives, whose estrogen dosage is known and controlled. The risk of breast and other cancers only increases with the uncontrolled use of hormones in meat. Read More »