Antibiotic-resistant superbugs are lurking in our food supply
by Douglas A. Wyatt, Director of Research, Center for Nutritional Research
Superbugs were once a figment of Hollywood’s imagination, but no more. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria and deadly viruses are definitely real; they’re here and making people ill in record numbers and taking lives. Superbugs commonly found in the soil and in animal and human gastrointestinal tracts make their way to the dinner table via contaminated processing equipment, food workers’ dirty hands, manure applied to crops, as well as livestock and fish, who have themselves been raised on unnecessary antibiotics.
An article in the December 2013 issue of Consumer Reports reported that 97% of more than three hundred raw chicken breast samples contained illness-causing bacteria. The chicken breasts were purchased across the U.S. and included organic brands and those labeled “raised without antibiotics”. The most common bacteria detected was Enterococcus, which occurred in 79.8% percent of the samples, followed by E. coli (65.2%); campylobacter (43%); klebsiella pneumonia (13.6%); salmonella (10.8%); and staphylococcus aureus (9.2 %). Virtually every sample contained some type of bacteria, including the “organic” and “no antibiotics” breasts.