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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Walmart Pork

     It seems Walmart is always either the butt of jokes or somebody is complaining about them, but they still seems to be a popular place to shop.
     Recently I saw this story that was shared on on Facebook by someone who does not eat pork. It reads: 

Life-Threatening “Superbugs” Found in 80 percent of Walmart Pork Antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" already kill 35,000 people a year, according to the CDC. Read the entire story HERE
     I am not one to get my news off Facebook or to believe everything I read on sites like The Mind Unleashed which is where this story came from.
     Founded in 2013, The Mind Unleashed is a strong conspiracy and pseudoscience website. According to their about page “If ordinary people really knew that consciousness and not matter or material possessions is the link that connects us with each other and the world, then their views about war and peace, environmental pollution, social justice, religious values, and all other human endeavors would change radically.” 
     The Media/Bias Fact Check site states, “Overall, we rate The Mind Unleashed a very strong Conspiracy and Pseudoscience source. We also rate them Low for factual reporting due to the promotion of unproven claims and numerous failed fact checks.” All sources I checked said stop reading it. 
Some sites want to
  create fear and panic

     Of course, the same Walmart story appeared on several sites I checked, including at least one vegan site which I reckon likely to be prejudiced anyway.  But, even Newsweek picked up on the story. So, what’s the truth? Is eating pork from Walmart going to kill you? Is there any truth to the story?
     According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 2.8 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur in the US each year, and more than 35,000 people die as a result. In addition, 223,900 cases of Clostridioides difficile occurred in 2017 and at least 12,800 people died. 
     Clearly, part of the story is true. But, is Walmart pork responsible for all those infections and deaths? Of course not. 
     The Food and Drug Administration has said that it is an oversimplification to say that resistance to any single antibiotic is a risk to human health. By nature many bacteria are resistant to at least one antibiotic, but can easily be treated with others. 
     The CDC states infections caused by antibiotic-resistant germs are difficult, and sometimes impossible, to treat, but the truth is antibiotic-resistant superbugs are everywhere. 
     It's not just Walmart...nearly 80 percent of meat in US supermarkets contains antibiotic-resistant bacteria according to the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental research organization. 
     The bacteria were resistant to at least one of 14 antibiotics tested for in 2015 by the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, a federal-public health partnership. Of the samples tested antibiotic-resistant bacteria were found on: 
ground turkey – 79 percent 
pork chops – 71 percent 
ground beef - 62 percent 
chicken breasts, wings and thighs – 36 percent 

     According to the CDC no one can completely avoid getting an infection, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk.

1) Clean your hands 
Wash your hands and surfaces often. Germs that cause food poisoning can survive in many places and spread around your kitchen. Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before, during, and after preparing food and before eating. Wash your utensils, cutting boards, and counter tops with hot, soapy water. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under running water. 
2) Separate meats from vegetables don't cross contaminate 
Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can spread germs to ready-to-eat foods unless you keep them separate. Use separate cutting boards and plates for raw meat, poultry, and seafood. When grocery shopping, keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and their juices away from other foods. Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods in the fridge. 
3) Cook to the right temperature 
Proper cooking is a safe way to ensure there are no antibiotic resistant bacteria on meat and poultry products. Whether antibiotic resistant or not, all potentially harmful bacteria are killed when meat and poultry are cooked to the proper cooking temperature. 

The only way to tell if food is safely cooked is to use a food thermometer. You can’t tell if food is safely cooked by checking its color and texture. Use a food thermometer to ensure foods are cooked to a safe internal temperature.

145 degrees for whole cuts of beef, pork, veal, and lamb (then allow the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or eating) 
160 degrees for ground meats, such as beef and pork 
165 degrees for all poultry, including ground chicken and turkey 
165 degrees for leftovers and casseroles 
145 degrees for fresh ham (raw) 
145 degrees for fin fish or cook until flesh is opaque 

4) Refrigerate food promptly to avoid food poisoning 
Bacteria can multiply rapidly if left at room temperature or in the “Danger Zone” between 40 and 140 degrees. Never leave perishable food out for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour if it’s hotter than 90 degrees outside). 

Keep your refrigerator below 40 degrees and know when to throw food out. Refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours. (If outdoor temperature is above 90 degrees refrigerate within 1 hour.) 

Thaw frozen food safely in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. Never thaw foods on the counter, because bacteria multiply quickly in the parts of the food that reach room temperature.  

     By the way, the most common drug-resistant diseases aren’t found in food! They are: 
1) The bacterium that causes tuberculosis. TB is treatable, however some bacteria are becoming resistant to the two most potent TB drugs. This is known as multi-drug-resistant TB. 
2) Clostridium difficile, a pathogen infecting the colon of patients following antibiotic treatment. It is naturally resistant to many common antibiotics, and it grows and causes inflammation in the colon. It is a major health care-associated infection in the US, causing mild to severe diarrhea. Around half a million people are infected each year, resulting in approximately 15,000 deaths. 
3) Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci are bacteria that are commonly found colonizing the human digestive tract and female genital tract. VRE infections tend to occur in people who are in hospitals or other health care facilities. They also often occur in people who are susceptible to infection due to other medical problems or the presence of certain catheters or other devices. 
4) Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has evolved from a controllable nuisance into a serious public health concern. MRSA is one of the most common hospital-acquired infections. Increasingl strains are circulating in the community and can cause severe infections. 
5) Neisseria gonorrhoea causes gonorrhea, the second most commonly reported infection in the US and some drugs are becoming less effective in treating gonorrhea. 
6) Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae is a family of highly resistant bacteria that primarily affect patients in hospitals and those who have compromised immune systems. The bacteria can enter the body through medical devices like ventilators or catheters. Some infections are resistant to most available antibiotics and can be life-threatening.

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