S. aureus found in meat and poultry

Staphylococcus aureus has been found in U.S. meat and poultry at alarming rates:

Nearly half of the meat and poultry samples — 47 percent — were contaminated with S. aureus, and more than half of those bacteria — 52 percent — were resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics, according to the study published today in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

This is the first national assessment of antibiotic resistant S. aureus in the U.S. food supply. And, DNA testing suggests that the food animals themselves were the major source of contamination.

I’m mostly posting this because I’ve recently been working with various bacteria, including S. aureus. One of the biggest problems with them – indeed, with any major and most minor bacteria species – is that they evolve quickly in response to the antibiotics we use against them. This research specifically looked at resistance, and the numbers are surprising. Compounding the issue, there are really only six or so major companies that work to develop antibiotics in the U.S. today. Though our government is a big corporate welfare bitch, our direct government investment in this sort of research is non-existent. That really makes no sense. It is government funding that has long been a huge driving force behind the science of the 20th century, and this is especially true where both lives and profits are at risk – private businesses will always opt to risk the former, not the latter. Given how quickly bacteria evolve to get around antibiotics – resistance has been detected in the very same year the antibiotics have been developed in some cases – it would be good science and our health if we started investing more. A lot more.

That said, there are preventative measures that need to be addressed. First – and we need government again – limit what farmers can give livestock. Of course resistance will evolve if we keep giving cows and chickens antibiotics at such high rate. Second – yep, government again – tighten food-handling protocols in meat markets, including supermarkets. Given the $8 an hour supermarkets pay their employees, I doubt people in that field will give two shits, but every little bit helps (especially before the food gets to that point). And finally – we might not need government to do all of this one – educate the general public, i.e., cook your food at recommended temperatures, wipe down counters, and other basic things civilized people ought to be doing without being told.

S. aureus found in meat and poultry

Staphylococcus aureus has been found in U.S. meat and poultry at alarming rates:

Nearly half of the meat and poultry samples — 47 percent — were contaminated with S. aureus, and more than half of those bacteria — 52 percent — were resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics, according to the study published today in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

This is the first national assessment of antibiotic resistant S. aureus in the U.S. food supply. And, DNA testing suggests that the food animals themselves were the major source of contamination.

I’m mostly posting this because I’ve recently been working with various bacteria, including S. aureus. One of the biggest problems with them – indeed, with any major and most minor bacteria species – is that they evolve quickly in response to the antibiotics we use against them. This research specifically looked at resistance, and the numbers are surprising. Compounding the issue, there are really only six or so major companies that work to develop antibiotics in the U.S. today. Though our government is a big corporate welfare bitch, our direct government investment in this sort of research is non-existent. That really makes no sense. It is government funding that has long been a huge driving force behind the science of the 20th century, and this is especially true where both lives and profits are at risk – private businesses will always opt to risk the former, not the latter. Given how quickly bacteria evolve to get around antibiotics – resistance has been detected in the very same year the antibiotics have been developed in some cases – it would be good science and our health if we started investing more. A lot more.

That said, there are preventative measures that need to be addressed. First – and we need government again – limit what farmers can give livestock. Of course resistance will evolve if we keep giving cows and chickens antibiotics at such high rate. Second – yep, government again – tighten food-handling protocols in meat markets, including supermarkets. Given the $8 an hour supermarkets pay their employees, I doubt people in that field will give two shits, but every little bit helps (especially before the food gets to that point). And finally – we might not need government to do all of this one – educate the general public, i.e., cook your food at recommended temperatures, wipe down counters, and other basic things civilized people ought to be doing without being told.

Thought of the day

The biggest issues for the Tea Party:

  • Breaking up unions (without helping any budgets)
  • Restricting abortions
  • Expanding gun ‘rights’
  • Questioning the President’s place of birth
  • Defunding public radio
  • Restricting civil rights for gays
  • Replacing Jewish lawmakers with “true Christian” leaders
  • Pretending the U.S. is a Christian nation
  • Pretending the U.S. was even founded on Christian ‘principles’
  • Abusing the already weak concept of libertarianism

Oh, and most don’t want to see cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. So remind me again why so much of the nation believes this movement has anything to do with spending and taxes?

Alabama is generally a racist state

In 2000, 41% of Alabama voters said they wanted to keep federally nullified language in their constitution saying blacks and whites could not marry. In 2004, a narrow majority defeated an amendment that would have 1) eliminated references to Jim Crow laws and poll taxes, and 2) declared that there is a constitutional right to education. Now the Alabama legislature is attempting to once again remove that racist language:

The proposed amendment would eliminate language that calls for separate schools for black and white students and poll taxes, the latter generally viewed as instituted to keep black residents from voting.

“Even though federal laws nullify these old wordings, it remains a black eye on the state,” said Cam Ward, another Republican senator.

Some lawmakers have tried for years to rewrite the entire state constitution, which they criticize as outdated and cumbersome.

This is will be an interesting test. In 2000 there was the excuse of taxation issues that came along with declaring public education a right. It isn’t surprising that the deep south has questionable commitments to education, but that won’t be a factor when this issue likely appears on ballots in 2012. Alabama voters are going to have to give a plain up or down vote without making excuses for their deeply embedded racism.

While I suspect a number of voters there did legitimately glom onto the public education issue in 2000, I more strongly suspect that a majority of those voters really just don’t like black people. My guess is that we see another round of absurdly, blatantly, baldly racist people filling up the ballot boxes just like in 2000 – especially if the Tea Party manages to churn up a big turn-out.