New MRSA Superbug Strain Found in UK Milk

Independent

A new strain of MRSA has been found in British milk, indicating that the superbug is spreading through the livestock population and poses a growing threat to human health.

The new strain, MRSA ST398, has been identified in seven samples of bulk milk from five different farms in England.

The discovery, from tests on 1,500 samples, indicates that antibiotic-resistant organisms are gaining an increasing hold in the dairy industry.

The disclosure comes amid growing concern over the use of modern antibiotics on British farms, driven by price pressure imposed by the big supermarket chains. Intensive farming with thousands of animals raised in cramped conditions means infections spread faster and the need for antibiotics is consequently greater.

Three classes of antibiotics rated as “critically important to human medicine” by the World Health Organisation – cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones and macrolides – have increased in use in the animal population by eightfold in the last decade.

The more antibiotics are used, the greater the likelihood that antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as MRSA, will evolve.

Experts say there is no risk of MRSA infection to consumers of milk or dairy products so long as the milk is pasteurised. The risk comes from farmworkers, vets and abattoir workers, who may become infected through contact with livestock and transmit the bug to others.

The discovery was made by scientists from Cambridge University who first identified MRSA in milk in 2011. They say the latest finding of a different strain is worrying.

Mark Holmes, of the department of veterinary medicine, who led the study, published in Eurosurveillance, said: “This is definitely a worsening situation. In 2011 when we first found MRSA in farm animals, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [Defra] initially didn’t believe it. They said we don’t have MRSA in the dairy industry in this country.”

“Now we definitely have MRSA in livestock. What is curious is that it has turned up in dairy cows when in other countries on the Continent it is principally in pigs. Could it be in pigs or poultry in this country? We don’t know.”

The MRSA superbug can cause serious infections in humans which are difficult to treat, require stronger antibiotics, and take longer to resolve. Human cases of infection with the new strain have been found in Scotland and northern England according to Defra, but no details are available.

Dr Holmes said supermarket pressure on farmers to hold down prices was leading to the overuse of antibiotics to prevent cattle getting mastitis, an infection of the udder, that might interrupt the milk supply.

“If farmers were not screwed into the ground by the supermarkets and allowed to get a fair price for their milk they would be able to use fewer antibiotics,” he said.

“Common sense tells us that anything we can do to reduce use of antibiotics will reduce the growth of resistant bugs. We want to wean our farmers off antibiotics and the only way we can do that is with better regulation.”

Vets in Norway and Denmark had much more limited prescribing powers than in the UK, he added.

“Now we definitely have MRSA in livestock. What is curious is that it has turned up in dairy cows when in other countries on the Continent it is principally in pigs. Could it be in pigs or poultry in this country? We don’t know.”

Junk Science Inadvertently Proves That Agribusiness Is Killing Us

Gaia Health

Junk science keeps producing studies purporting to show that certain kinds of foods are bad for us. Within the last couple of days, two reports have come out claiming that red meat reduces lifespan and that saturated fats are causing significantly reduced sperm counts in men. But what they really demonstrate is something entirely different.

These studies prove only that Agribusiness is doing immense harm to our health. They’re pseudo science because they don’t consider the distinctions between real food and Agribusiness distortion of food, turning the primary sources of nutrition for most people into nothing more than junk food.

The Studies:

Saturated Fats

A study published in the journal Human Reproduction examined the eating habits of men in a fertility clinic. 71% of the men were categorized as overweight or obese, which is a good indication that their diets consist largely of fast foods and prepared foods. Both of these are loaded with trans fats. Thus, the bulk of saturated fat eaten by these men is not naturally saturated, like butter, but is artificially produced.

Gaia Health has explained the difference between these two types of saturated fat in Why Hydrogenated Fat Is So Bad. Naturally saturated fats are quite healthy. In fact, they are a major part of body functions. If a study makes no distinction between naturally saturated fats and trans fats, also known as hydrogenated fats, then any claims of harm from saturated fats cannot be taken seriously.

This particular study, Dietary fat and semen quality among men attending a fertility clinic, claims that men in the top third of saturated fat intake had sperm counts that were 43% lower than men in the lowest third.

Nearly three-fourths (71%) of the men were overweight or obese. These men most likely obtain a significant portion of their diets from prepared foods supplied by Agribusiness. The study made no distinction between naturally saturated fats and trans fats. In light of these three points, the only rational conclusion is that the study has demonstrated that artificially saturated trans fats result in lowered sperm counts.

Now, let’s just use a bit of logic. Today, lowered sperm counts are becoming a serious issue. A hundred years ago, there was little concern about it. Families tended to be quite large. The ability to produce children wasn’t at issue. Back then, the diets of reasonably healthy people consisted of loads of naturally saturated fats, especially butter, meat, and eggs. Just look at the diet of the Amish people today, and you’ll see that’s true.

Not distinguishing between types of saturated fat is a fatal flaw. In the face of such an error, it makes no sense to suggest that the problem is saturated fat. The evidence from this study has shown that artificially saturated fats—trans fats—result in lowered sperm counts, not that saturated fats are harmful.

Red Meat

A study published in JAMA’s Archives of Internal Medicine claims to show that eating red meat is associated with an increase in mortality from heart disease, cancer, and all causes.

The study is, overall, rather well done. There is, however, one major—and fatal—flaw, effectively the same one that exists in the saturated fats study. No distinction was made between factory farmed meats and naturally grown ones.

Factory farmed, concentrated animal feed operations (CAFOs) raise sick and miserable animals. They’re forced to eat unnatural diets, which produce constant gut misery. Most never see the sky and exist in extremely crowded circumstances. These animals are severely weakened, so they must receive massive doses of antibiotics to prevent diseases. They’re given other drugs designed to force rapid growth and weight gain. And all of that ends up in the meat. This is the kind of meat that most fast foods joints, most restaurants, and most supermarkets serve up.

Sick, miserable, and toxic animals produce sick and toxic meat. That’s what most people in the industrialized world now eat. It bears little resemblance to naturally raised meat.

If a study makes no distinguish between CAFO-raised meat and free range organically-produced meat, it cannot possibly be considered meaningful.

The study, Red Meat Consumption and Mortality, claims that “greater consumption of unprocessed and processed red meats is associated with higher mortality risk”. However, it has not shown that. It has, instead, demonstrated that the meat produced by Agribusiness is killing us.

Junk Science and Junk Food

Agribusiness produces junk food. Junk science ignores that fact when it doesn’t distinguish between such pseudo food and natural chemical-free, antibiotic-free, and GMO-free foods.

The only legitimate conclusion that can be drawn from these two studies is that Agribusiness is killing us with its junk foods.