You should have read it. The story was in all the newspapers last month. Issued by the Food and Drug Administration, it was called the NARMS (National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System) study and it created panic in the streets. At least that was what some of the more creative headline writers were counting on. All powerful bacteria, armed with some serious drug resistance, were invading the meat case. Consumers were lined up at the county courthouse demanding drug free meat.
The numbers were startling. As much as 81% of the raw ground turkey tested was contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria were found in 69% of pork chops, 55% of ground beef and 39% of chicken. Scientists found significant amounts of salmonella and Campylobacter, causing millions of cases of food poisoning a year. And it was all caused by careless and rampant overuse of antibiotics by the greedy overlords of “industrial farming.”
News like that can make you swear off food completely
It was the Environmental Working Group’s review of the FDA study that created an immediate push back by our friends in Washington. The headliner, ripped straight from the sensationalistic and panicky yellow journalism of old, cried “Superbugs Invade American Supermarkets.”
The FDA said, “Not so fast, guys. You need a little perspective here.”
The man to go to for some of that perspective is Dr. Michael Doyle, Regents Professor of Food Microbiology and Director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia. His biography calls him “an active researcher in the area of food safety and security who works closely with the food industry, government agencies, and consumer groups on issues related to the microbiological safety of foods.
“He serves on food safety committees of many scientific organizations and has served as a scientific advisor to many groups, including the World Health Organization, the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Science-National Research Council, the International Life Sciences Institute-North America, the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, the International Association for Food Protection and the Institute of Food Technologists, and is a member of the National Academies Institute of Medicine.”