“Nearly half of all meat and poultry sampled in a new study contained drug-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus, the type of bacteria that most commonly causes staph infections.”
That’s the big news in this week’s food blogsphere (blogosphere, favored by Wikipedia, adds two more useless letters) and it’s even getting national coverage. The staph infections can take many forms, from a minor rash to pneumonia or sepsis.
The researchers did not use a huge sample, but the news is still scary. They analyzed 136 samples of beef, chicken, pork and turkey from 80 brands sold in 26 grocery stores in five cities: Los Angeles, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Flagstaff, Ariz., and Washington, D.C.
47% of the samples contained S. Aureus and of those bacteria, 52% were resistant to many antibiotics. It’s not the handling of the meat after it’s slaughtered that’s the problem, it the meat itself. The referenced report can be found at http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/04/14/cid.cir181.full.pdf]
Experts say we can’t feed the world without commercial farming. But are they feeding us or making us sick? There’s an epidemic of diabetes and obesity in the United States today, caused by the food we eat. Capitalism was okay when it was largely decentralized and open. Now it’s controlled by a narrow few who care only about money. It’s all about greed. Your local farmer cares about you and his land, because he depends on you and his land.
Local farmers have a hard time competing with commercial giants in part because of laws passed to exclude them from competition, such as requiring every slaughter house to have a separate bathroom for government inspectors; such as high licensing fees for people selling local food. With that in mind, here’s another story going around in the food blogsphere this week.
The Maine town of Sedgwick unanimously passed an ordinance giving its citizens the right “to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing.” This includes raw milk, locally slaughtered meats, and just about anything else you can imagine. You can find more information in a great blog called Food Renegad. http://www.foodrenegade.com/maine-town-declares-food-sovereignty/
There’s also an underground food market movement in the United States today. It began in San Francisco, of course, but has now spread to places like Atlanta and Washington DC. Local chefs, farmers and food processors, along with amateurs, get together to share all kinds of local food and food dishes. They do it without government licensing and health inspectors, by forming private clubs (membership is free). The New York Times had an article last week. Here’s the link, but you may have to pay to read the article. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/15/us/15rave.html
The next underground market in Washington will be on May 21st. I plan to go. More information can be found at GreyDC http://www.greydc.com/