Organic Consumers Association

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Cook Organic not the Planet Campaign

Factory Farmers Downplay Report that 50% of Non-Organic Meat Contains Dangerous Antibiotic Resistant Pathogens

Philip Brasher reported on Friday at the Green Fields Blog (Des Moines Register) that, “Meat and poultry sold in supermarkets may be widely contaminated with staph bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, according to a study released today. Researchers tested beef, chicken, pork and turkey from stores in five cities and found Staphylococcus aureus bacteria in nearly half of the samples. In 52 percent of those contaminated samples the bacteria were resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics.”

Mr. Brasher added that, “The American Meat Institute [AMI], a meatpackers’ trade group, said the study was too small ‘to reach the sweeping conclusions conveyed in a press release about the study.’”

An AMI news release on Friday stated that, “ A new Pew Commission-funded study misleads consumers about U.S. meat and poultry, which is among the safest in the world.

“Authors of the new study, which involved a small number of samples from retail stores, claim that their findings suggest that a significant public health risk exists.  However, federal data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show steady declines in foodborne illnesses linked to consumption of meat and poultry overall and indicate that human infections with Staphylococcus aureus (‘Staph’) comprise less than one percent of total foodborne illnesses.”

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Bill Donald also commented on the report on Friday.

In other news, Queenie Wong reported on Friday at The Seattle Times Online that, “Some national animal-welfare groups are up in arms over a bill they fear will weaken their efforts to get Washington [state] egg producers to stop caging hens.

Senate Bill 5487 would require Washington egg producers to phase out their current cages for more spacious ones by 2026. Supporters say the bill would improve conditions for the hens without unduly raising the cost of egg production.”

The article noted that, “ Animal-welfare advocates, however, say the new cages still wouldn’t be big enough.

“‘The animals are still confined in cages, they’re not given very good dust baths, and their freedom of movement is still very much restrained,’ said Gene Baur, president of Farm Sanctuary, an animal-welfare group based in New York.”

Meanwhile, a news release from Friday from the United Egg Producers stated that, “ As the economy makes a sluggish recovery, American families continue to find themselves struggling with food insecurity.  According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 50 million Americans, or one in six, live in food insecure households, including 17 million children.  In response to the need, America’s egg farmers are donating more than 11 million eggs this Easter season to food banks across the nation as part of its fourth year working with Feeding America to supply fresh eggs to the communities they serve.”

In related news, a supplement included in Friday’s edition of USA Today in newspapers in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Minneapolis highlighted the issue of hunger.  The supplement features ads from groups such as World Vision, Feeding America and others, and for the first time, an ad for “Peanut Butter for the Hungry.”

The ad features the new website

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