All of us have the bacteria Staph Aureus on our skin, and most of the time this causes no problem. However, in response to farming practices and antibiotic use, Staph Aureus can mutate and become more aggressive.
Methocillin resistant Staph Aureus (MRSA) is an aggressive and antibiotic resistant form of the bacteria that can cause life threatening cases of food poisoning or skin infection. MRSA is especially harmful to people with weakened immunity, such as elders, babies, or people receiving chemotherapy.
A new study finds that there’s a lot more MRSA in your grocery store than previously thought. A sampling of pork meat in grocery stores across the midwest found MRSA in 7% of the packages.
Put that together with the E Coli outbreaks in spinach and the mad cow disease prions in ground beef, and you start wondering where all these microbes are coming from. The answer, surprisingly, is corn.
We are what our food eats. Feedlot animals eat a non-native diet of corn and rendered animal fat (of their own species!) while confined to cages. This lifestyle makes an animal very sick, and they get fed a lot of hormones and antibiotics to keep them alive.
E Coli O157:H7 (the infection that causes a deadly bloody diarrhea) arises in the bellies of corn-fed cows. The waste from the cows gets washed into neighboring farms and water supplies (feedlot farm waste is exempt from the Clean Water Act), and we end up with E Coli infections on spinach.
So, what’s the answer? Do we eat processed food to avoid the infections in spinach, beef, and pork? Do we cook our meats to well done, killing bacteria but creating carcinogens in our food?
The solution is to address the root problem — farming practices, not bacteria. If you’re going to eat meat, dairy, or eggs, seek out pasture raised animals that eat their native diet. In Oklahoma, we’re blessed with a community of like-minded farmers. I encourage you to visit with the Blakeleys and Wagon Creek Creamery at the Clean Food Market, or to join the Oklahoma Food Cooperative.
You’ll get delicious food that’s safe for your family.