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

Company Who Recalled Bad Beef Was Warned Before!

Last week, a meat processor recalled over 800,000 pounds of beef due to salmonella. And now, a new report accuses the company of dragging unconscious cattle, which can raise cows' risk of contracting E. coli and salmonella.

Records show the company was also slapped with an animal handling citation last year after US Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors found workers at the Fresno plant were using electric prods to cajole cattle through a narrow chute prior to slaughter. The visit, carried out in March 2008, followed in the wake of the biggest beef recall in US history that was linked to a separate Californian slaughter facility.

The company, a subsidiary of Cargill, was admonished after three cows were stunned when they refused to move “so that they could be pulled through the restrainer to be shackled, hung and bled," said the USDA report.

Under USDA regulations, use of a cattle prod is considered humane when used properly on walking animals. It is understood that dragging unconscious cattle could increase the risk of animals contracting salmonella and E.coli as cow hides can pick up bacteria from feces than can collect around the chute.

This shouldn’t surprise you. Food producers cut corners all the time. That peanut butter scare in January, turns out the guilty company had been scolded for mildew before the recall.

Via Food Production Daily.

Image credit: jcarwash1

Over 400,000 Pounds of Beef Recalled...

Evil E. coli is at it again! On Sunday, a Colorado meat company expanded it’s voluntarily recall of beef believed to be contaminated with E. coli, bringing the total from 380,000 pounds of meat to 421,000 pounds. The bad meat was distributed internationally and is suspected in 18 cases of illness. Currently, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are conducting an investigation; Reuters reports.

Just add beef to the pile. Last week, Nestlé Toll House recalled cookie dough tainted with E. coli, sickening 66 people in 28 states. E. coli is no joke. It can be fatal. Common symptoms of E. coli poisoning include urinary tract infection, diarrhea and bowel inflammation. Eek!

And don’t forget. In 2006, a spinach-E. coli crisis dragged on for months, causing some people to ditch large factory farms and explore locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Image credit: Penny and Simon

Cookies and Milk and E. coli

Milk and cookies may seem harmless. It’s not. On Friday, Nestlé Toll House recalled refrigerated cookie dough products due to risk of E. coli contamination, suspected to have sickened 66 people in 28 states. Health officials say the elderly, pregnant women and anyone with a compromised immune system should avoid the raw cookie dough. E. coli can lead to hemolytic uremic syndrome, resulting in kidney damage and even death; HealthDay News reports.

Yuck. I may have a cookie from time to time, but milk! No way. Our food safety is a mess. We all remember the spinach-E. coli crisis in 2006 and then this year’s melamine contaminated milk. Oh, and don’t forget. In February, a study found 20% of Japan’s chicken is tainted with salmonella.

In related news, Nestlé shut down the cookie dough plant linked to E. coli, as a result 200 workers were laid off. So far, a total of 86.4 million cookies' worth of dough has been recalled.

Via CNN.

Image credit: CookingOnTheSide.com

Yuck! Bugs in the Tomato Juice?

Salmonella in peanut butter is gross! But there’s something much creeper lurking in our food. The FDA calls them “natural contaminants” and they’re found in everything from curry, tomato paste, mushrooms and beer, stuff like bug eggs, mites, parasites, sand, grit and even rodent hair. A can of mushrooms may contain more than 20 maggots per 100 grams, curry is allowed 100 or more bug pieces per 25 grams and an 18-ounce jar of peanut butter can have roughly 125 milligrams of grit or 5 rodent hairs; The New York Times reports.

Good excuse to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Just be sure to wash them. Pesticide residue can ruin your day, i.e. boosting cancer-risk. Raw milk is another gross food too. To date, 26 states prohibit the sale of raw milk for human consumption. Cows’ stomachs host a variety of nasty buggers, like salmonella, E. coli and listeria. All can kill you.

Yucky, I just puked in my mouth a little. The bug remnants thing reminds me of the FDA’s crackdown on using crushed beetles to make foods red and purple.

Image credit: joka2000

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

Raw Milk, Full of Germs...

Imagine this. Milking a cow and then gulping down a big ladle full of the stuff. Gross! Yet, some people do it. But health officials warn that raw milk, as it’s called, is a prime spreader of food-borne illnesses and that’s why the FDA has cracked down on the sale of raw milk. In fact, 26 states already prohibit the sale of raw milk for human consumption.

And now, a new study in Food Safety reveals raw milk, or unpasteurized milk, can be contaminated with germs that make people sick. Also, researchers scoff at the notion that raw milk has health benefits and cite evidence that illness from raw milk may actually be on the rise. Cows are hosts to nasty things like E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria; Reuters reports.

Milk grosses me out. As a kid, if I had a bowl of cereal for breakfast, 20 minutes later I’d puke it up. Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of milk either. He says milk is for rapidly growing cows and not slow-growing humans and dairy can increase risk of Parkinson’s, heart disease and ovarian cancer.

Also, previous research has linked dairy to both prostate cancer and diabetes. So eat your veggies instead, they’re loaded with calcium. Not to mention, milk is mutant. Yucky!

Green-News: Wednesday 12.10.08

  • A cruise ship has run aground on Antarctica's western peninsula. The passengers and crew were rescued but officials fear the vessel may be leaking unknown amounts of oil. This could cause long-lasting damage the pristine channel and local environment; via National Geographic News.