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The Scary Danger of Meat (Even For Those Who Don't Eat It)

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So far, 2012 is bringing bad news for people who don't want "free antibiotics" in their food.

Antibiotics are routinely given to livestock on factory farms to make them gain weight with less feed and keep them from getting sick in confinement conditions. But the daily dosing, at the same time it lowers feed needs, lowers drug effectiveness and produces antibiotic resistant bacteria or super bugs that can be deadly to people.

This month, researchers found 230 out of 395 pork cuts bought in US stores were contaminated with a super bug called MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Worse--there were "no statistically significant differences" between "conventionally raised swine and swine raised without antibiotics," reported the researchers.

Why would meat labeled "raised without antibiotics" be as full of super bugs as conventional and factory farmed meat? It can be contaminated with MRSA at the farm, by slaughterhouse workers who carry MRSA or by other meat, if processing equipment is not "cleaned out between runs of certified organic and non-certified organic meats," say the researchers. A 2009 study of swine workers in Iowa and Illinois found that almost half carried MRSA.


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