(Photo from salmonellablog.com)
When Consumers Union announced that they had found campylobacter and salmonella in some 83% of broilers, USDA was quick to call it junk science. Now, a study in Japan is exposing very similar levels when it comes to harmful salmonella bacteria. In the US, campylobacter was present in 81 percent of the chickens, salmonella in 15 percent; both bacteria in 13 percent. Only 17 percent had neither pathogen. In Japan, about one in five packages of domestic minced chicken sold nationwide was found to be tainted with salmonella. Asahi reports that the salmonella research was conducted from 2007 to 2008 by Katsuya Hirai, a professor of veterinary microbiology at Tenshi College's graduate school in Sapporo:
With the cooperation of public health institutes nationwide, Hirai collected and examined 820 samples of ground poultry for sale whose place of origin could be confirmed. Of the samples, 163, or about 20 percent, were contaminated with salmonella.
Why are the rates lower in other parts of the world: 4 to 9 percent in similar surveys in Britain, Italy and Spain in or after 2001, according to professor Hirai.
What's worse, about 45 percent of the bacteria were resistant to five or more types of antibiotics, and some even showed resistance to quinolone, an antibiotics used as a key treatment for salmonella infections in humans. Junk science? You be the judge. I stopped eating chicken a long time ago.
A big part of the problem is the large amounts of antibacterial feed additives that the chicken eat on a daily basis:
Efforts to end antibiotic use on farms need to continue, says Steven Roach of Ames, Iowa, public health director of the Food Animal Concerns Trust, a member of the Keep Antibiotics Working coalition.
"If you reduce the overall antibiotic use in the flocks, then you reduce the advantage that resistant bacteria have. It won't eliminate all resistance, but it can definitely help reduce it," Roach says to USA Today.
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Written by Martin Frid at greenz.jp