04/18/2011 - I know, everyday there is another warning about sugar, or mercury or coffee (is it good or bad?). But this is different. This is a sirens blasting, red lights blinking moment. It's hard to shock me, but when I read the report on Friday that almost half of the meat and poultry we're buying at our local grocery stores is contaminated with Staph (Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria, I had to let out a scream of frustration. My frustration turned to anger, when I started reading the details.
Of those Staph bacteria, scientists found that more than half are resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics! Go deeper and you'll find out that the government already knew our meat was crawling with antibiotic-resistant Salmonella, Campylobacter, Enterococcus and E. coli. However, it never looked for Staph, which is one of the most common causes of bacterial infections in the United States. Instead, a group of independent researchers is now sounding the alarms.
The authors of the Pew Charitable Trusts funded study, are from the Translational Genomics Research Institute, based in New Mexico. They say this is the first time anyone has tried to asses nationally how much Staph was in our food supply. Staph is seriously nasty and can lead to everything from a minor skin infection to a life-threatening disease, such as pneumonia or sepsis. The so-called "super Staph bug," may actually kill more people every year than HIV. Senior author of the study, Dr. Lance Price, warns, "Antibiotics are the most important drugs that we have to treat Staph infections; but when Staph are resistant to three, four, five or even nine different antibiotics -- like we saw in this study -- that leaves physicians few options," Is that alarm ringing loud enough yet?
Read the editorial in its entirety on The Huffington Post's Web site.