CDC reports risk of urinary tract infection from chicken products

There is growing concern about the safety of agricultural products, especially meat. Recalls are becoming more frequent. Even more troubling is that approximately 70% of antibiotics produced in the U.S. are regularly given to farm animals for non-therapeutic reasons - not to treat existing infections – non-therapeutic use of anibiotics has been used for decades to promote weight gain in animals, which increases meat production and therefore profits.1  These practices are potentially fueling the emergence of dangerous drug-resistant strains of bacteria, which could make their way into our food supply.

Six to eight million cases of urinary tract infections (UTIs) occur each year in the U.S., 80% of which are caused by E. coli that is ingested in food, lives in the intestinal tract, and then travels from the intestinal tract to the urinary tract. Infections of the urinary tract are also the most common source of bacteria causing sepsis, or infection of the bloodstream. Drug-resistant bacterial UTIs are of course more difficult to treat.

Since intestinal E. coli is the most common source of UTIs, a group of Canadian researchers decided to test whether there was a link between contaminated food products and UTIs. These researchers had previously found that women who frequently ate chicken and pork were more likely to have drug-resistant UTIs.2

They collected urine samples from women diagnosed with urinary tract infections between 2005 and 2007. During this same time period they also collected samples of supermarket purchased chicken products, restaurant meals, and ready-to-eat foods.

Two isolated groups of E. coli were genetically indistinguishable between the chicken samples and human UTI samples. This means that these bacteria likely originated from the same source, and furthermore establishes that chicken products are a food-based source for bacteria that cause human UTIs.3

If you do not consume animal products, you can still reduce your risk of exposure by washing produce thoroughly – produce can become contaminated by animals or humans infected with E.coli.4

If you do eat animal products, you can take these steps to reduce the risk of ingesting harmful bacteria: cook meat and eggs thoroughly, be careful not to contaminate surfaces or other foods with raw meat, refrigerate leftovers promptly, and wash produce thoroughly. 

Purchasing meat from a source that does not practice non-therapeutic antibiotic use is a further step you can take to not promote the practices that drive the emergence of drug-resistant bacterial strains. Animals raised for meat and poultry products that carry the USDA organic label are not permitted to be given antibiotics.5

 

References:

1. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=most-us-antibiotics-fed-t

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/meat/safe/overview.html

2. Manges AR, Smith SP, Lau BJ, Nuval CJ, Eisenberg JN, Dietrich PS, et al. Retail meat consumption and the acquisition of antimicrobial resistant Escherichia coli causing urinary tract infections: a case-control study. Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2007;4:419–31. DOI:10.1089/fpd.2007.0026

3. Vincent C, Boerlin P, Daignault D, et al. Food reservoir for Escherichia coli causing urinary tract infections. Emerg Infect Dis. 2010;16:88-95.

http://www.cdc.gov/eid/content/16/1/pdfs/88.pdf

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-01/mu-rml012010.php

4. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2007/ucm108873.htm

5. http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/ofp/ofp.shtml

Artificial Sweeteners Not Removed from Waste Water

Appearing in the journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, German researchers determined sewage treatment plants fail to remove artificial sweeteners—such as saccharin and aspartame—from waste water. Water samples were collected from two treatment facilities, turning up four different chemicals: acesulfame, saccharin, cyclamate and sucralose. Scientists fear these compounds will pollute neighboring streams and rivers; from ScienceDaily.

Water is all messed up! In March, a report came out saying America’s freshwater is clogged up with antidepressants and cholesterol drugs. As for artificial sweeteners, Dr. Fuhrman slammed them after a new study revealed people using fake sugar actually have MORE diabetes.

In related news, experts recommend well water be tested annually for harmful chemicals, bacteria and germs, because young children are very vulnerable to waterborne illnesses.

Image credit: Mamboman1

Broccoli Whacks Bacteria Linked to Gastric Cancer

A new study in the journal Cancer Prevention Research discovered eating just 2.5 ounces of broccoli each day helped reduce Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) a bacterium closely tied to stomach damage and gastric cancer. Broccoli sprouts provide sulforaphane, a known cancer-fighter, which acts as an antibiotic against H. pylori. The experiment involved 48 people infected with H. pylori with half the participants eating broccoli sprouts each day. The others ate alfalfa sprouts, which do not contain sulforaphane. After 8 weeks the broccoli group had significantly lower levels of H. pylori. No change was observed in the alfalfa group; HealthDay News reports.

Sulforaphane has also been linked to undoing cell damage associated with hyperglycaemia and diabetes, but all fruits and vegetables are health-protective, such reducing risk of colon, prostate and pancreatic cancer. Other research has revealed populations eating an additional 20% more cruciferous vegetables have 40% less cancer.

Last week, a report showed vitamin K, found in leafy greens like spinach and broccoli, had a lower risk of prostate cancer. Broccoli has also been shown to protect against respiratory inflammation.

Image credit: The County Clerk

Flies and Chicken Poop Spreading Super Bugs!

New findings in the journal Science of the Total Environment claim flies flitting around chicken crap help spread drug-resistant superbugs. Test samples matched antibiotic-resistant bacteria on houseflies and poop found at intensive poultry-farming barns in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Flies spread all sorts of nastiness, such as cholera and salmonellosis. As many as 30,000 flies buzz in and out of poultry-houses every six weeks; Reuters reports.

In December, a study revealed trucks transporting chickens along highways leave behind a trail of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, setting up a health risk for people traveling these routes and individuals living nearby. Then last month Japanese researchers determined 20% of their poultry is contaminated with salmonella. Other countries only post 4% to 9%.

In the U.S. we eat sick or injured animals all the time. Warning! This video is graphic, but you’ll see how cattle ranchers and slaughterhouses feed us cows with infected tumors, chickens living in feces and pigs pumped with antibiotics. No, no human health risks there!

Via ChooseVeg.com.

Image credit: roblisameehan

Veggies, Now with Fewer Nutrients?

Wow, a new study in the Journal of HortScience claims nutrient composition of fruits and vegetables in the United States has been dropping over the last 50 to 100 years, in some cases median declines of 5% to 40% for minerals, with similar results in protein and vitamins. The studied crops, broccoli and wheat, may be victim of the newly recognized genetic dilution effect, referring to the use of genetic methods to increase crop yield, but consequently dilute nutrient concentrations in crops; from U.S. Food Policy.

More reason to buy organic! Organic fruits and veggies usually have more nutrients than conventional produce. According to Dr. Fuhrman, the theory is when plants are forced to deal with the stress, like insects, they produce more compounds beneficial to humans, like flavonoids. Plus organic tastes better and is better for the environment.

In related news, crops grown in dirt fertilized with livestock manure may actually absorb the antibiotics injected into cattle, helping spawn antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Eek!

Via kottke.

Image credit: Elizabeth Thomsen

Health-Points: Friday 2.13.09

  • Misdiagnosed food allergies may be on the rise and in extreme cases putting children at risk for malnutrition. And reports claim avoiding certain foods for fear of mistaken food allergies may make children more sensitive when foods are eventually eaten; from Well.
  • On Tuesday, the owner of the U.S. peanut company responsible for the salmonella-peanut butter outbreak pleaded the 5th and refused to answer questions before Congress, while internal company messages show him complaining about lost profits; Reuters reports.

Image credit: rsvstks

Japan's Chickens 20% Salmonella

Amid a salmonella-peanut butter outbreak in the United States, this news from Japan, upcoming research found one-fifth of minced chicken from Japan was contaminated with salmonella. The analysis, conducted by a professor of veterinary microbiology at Tenshi College in Sapporo, Japan, examined 820 samples of chicken with a confirmed place of origin and determined 163 were tainted with salmonella. Japan’s 20% is very high, compared to the 4% to 9% uncovered during similar testing in Britain, Italy and Spain; The Asahi Shimbun reports.

Perhaps worse, right here in the U.S. a previous study revealed poultry trucks rumbling down the road leave behind a trail antibiotic-resistant bacteria, specifically Enterococcus, which is harmful to people’s health and puts residents living alongside roads traveled by chicken trucks at risk.

Oh man, all this talk about poultry trucks and salmonella is rekindling my fear of melamine milk and E. coli spinach. Eek!

Via TreeHugger.

Image credit: hddod

Red Meat Boosts Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

An upcoming study in the January 22, 2008 issue of Circulation claims eating 2 servings of red meat per day increases risk of metabolic syndrome, a precursor to cardiovascular disease and diabetes, by 26%, but eating foods, like fruits and vegetables, lowers risk; CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta investigates.

You should add nuts to that list too! A recent study showed people consuming a Mediterranean diet with a daily serving of nuts, decreased their risk of metabolic syndrome by 13.7%. And other reports link red meat with cancer of the small intestine and heightened susceptibility to bacterial toxins.

Chicken Trucks Spread Bacteria!

A new study in the Journal of Infection and Public Health reveals poultry carriers leave behind a trail of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, putting motorists and individuals living along roads where chicken is transported at risk. Strains of the Enterococcus bacteria, which is harmful to human health, were collected off of test cars after driving behind poultry trucks; The Baltimore Sun reports.

Via TreeHugger.