Antibiotic-Resistant “Superbugs” in Meat

MRSA Superbugs in Meat

As a rule, “high-ranking public-health officials try to avoid apocalyptic descriptors. So, it’s worrying to hear those like the Director of the CDC warn of a coming health ‘nightmare’ and a ‘catastrophic threat.’” A number of prominent publications recently warned of the threat of antibiotic resistance. The CDC estimates that, at a minimum, more than two million people are sickened every year with antibiotic-resistant infections in the United States, with at least 23,000 dying as a result (See MRSA Superbugs in Meat).

We may be at the dawn of a post-antibiotic era. Achievements in modern medicine that we today take for granted, such as surgery and the treatment of preterm babies, would not be possible without access to effective treatment for bacterial infections. For example, without antibiotics, the rate of postoperative infection after a procedure like a hip replacement would be 40-50% and about one in three of those patients would die. So, the so-called worst case scenarios where resistant infections could cost $50 billion a year might still be an underestimate. “From cradle to grave, antibiotics have become pivotal in safeguarding the overall health of human societies.”

So, the dire phrasing from head officials may be warranted. There are now infections like carbapenem-resistant enterobacter that are resistant to nearly all antibiotics, even to so-called drugs of last resort. Worryingly, some of these last resort drugs are being used extensively in animal agriculture.

According to the World Health Organization, more antibiotics are fed to farmed animals than are used to treat disease in human patients. Doctors overprescribe antibiotics, but huge amounts of antibiotics are used in fish farming and other intensive animal agriculture, up to four times the amount used in human medicine. Why? “Suboptimum growth to slaughter weight caused by unsanitary conditions can be compensated with the addition of antibiotics to feed.” Instead of relieving any stressful overcrowded unhygienic conditions, it may be cheaper to just dose the animals with drugs.

In this way, factory farms are driving the growth of antibiotic-resistant organisms that cause human diseases. “This may help bolster the industry’s bottom line, but in the process, bacteria are developing antimicrobial resistance, which affects human health.”

The FDA reports that 80% of antimicrobial drugs in the United States are used in food animals, mainly to promote growth in this kind of high-density production. This can select for antibiotic-resistant bacteria like methicillin-resistant Staph aureus, or MRSA, considered a serious threat in the United States.

These industrial pig operations may provide optimal conditions for the introduction and transmission of MRSA. U.S. pork producers are currently permitted to use 29 antibiotic drugs in feed—all without a prescription. Antibiotics are currently added to about 90% of pigs’ starter feeds.

When animals receive unnecessary antibiotics, bacteria can become resistant to the drugs, then travel on meat to the store, and end up causing hard-to-treat illnesses in people.

MRSA present in retail raw meat may serve as a possible source of bacterial infections of food preparers in the food industry and the hands of consumers in the home. Once MRSA gets into our homes on meat, it can transfer to our cutting boards, knives, and onto our skin at a rate similar to the rate of transmission from touching an infected patient contaminated with MRSA. Washing of hands after touching raw pork is advised.

I know I’ve already covered this topic, but it never fails to shock me that the meat industry can get away with something so forcefully and universally condemned by the public health community. What other industrial sector could get away with putting people at such risk? It speaks to the combined might of the livestock industry and the pharmaceutical industry in holding sway over our democratic process, no matter what the human health consequences.

If you’ve missed my other MRSA videos, check out:

And for more on this critical issue in general:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More Than an Apple a Day, From Table to Able, and Food as Medicine.

Image Credit: Jellaluna / Flickr

  • These stories about antibiotics in animal agriculture keep getting more alarming. My sister died of MRSA, I believe from a well-fed dairy/meat/antibiotic infused overload. When does the madness stop? How many people have to die?

    • EngineerGA1

      If you don’t eat meat, you avoid most of the infection sources that carry resistance plasmids. As far as getting routine antibiotics out of agriculture in the USA? Good luck. Hell will freeze over before the agricultural-industrial complex consents to that. The irony is that the UK recognized the danger fifty years ago and banned routine antibiotic use in animals. The only feasible vehicle / method by which to do so is converting the entire US food system to organic production – and that carries HUGE amounts of political baggage in people’s minds (it being hippie / Democrat and so forth), as well as high cost pressures. Without fixing the structural issues of ag subsidies, organic will continue to be significantly more expensive, which is really the primary remaining obstacle. *IF* the GMO labeling movement wins, the market may hit a tipping point. [Of course – and especially on here, I’m committing heresy by saying it -but GMOs are safe (it’s the overuse of pesticides and the emergence of resistance that’s the issue]. Anti-GMO sentiment is the only feasible vehicle by which to force market change, but that’s a double edged sword because the anti-GMO crowd is anti-science in general.

      • VegGuy

        EngineerGA1, You say “GMOs are safe (it’s the overuse of pesticides and the emergence of resistance that’s the issue]. ” It is a moot point as genetically engineered foods ALWAYS come with pesticides, either as a genetic component of the food or drenched on the food.

        • EngineerGA1

          Two words: golden rice. You are wrong, and that’s a lie.

          • Edward Bogusz

            How much golden rice would have to be consumed daily to prevent blindness? Too too much. Are you at least a paid troll, or just an unpaid parrot?

          • Thea

            Edward Bogusz: Name calling is not allowed on this forum. I understand you are frustrated, but you have to stick with the rules.

          • Joe Caner

            Two words: GMO labeling. You are wrong and an industry shill.

        • IRI developed golden rice with no corporate involvement, and the developers were purely academics backed by humanitarian money. Yet the anti-GMO crowd killed the deployment. As a result, tens of thousands – at minimum – children worldwide go blind caused by vitamin A deficiency. That’s on YOUR head.

          • globaljobber

            The reasons children worldwide go blind/die/starve/etc., are due to selfish political and commercial reasons. There should be no need for GMOs in a world which cared more.

          • EngineerGA1

            You’re ignoring my point. In an ideal world, it would be a moot point and everyone would have enough, but that’s not going to happen any time soon. We have to live in the real world, where efficiency, cost, and logistics determine what’s feasible. Given all that, it’s far better to give farmers crop seeds that provide more nutrients, drought tolerance, etc, that they can then some of until the next year. The logistics of providing nutritional supplementation to make up for dietary deficiencies are at best highly complex and at worst impossible.

          • Kimberly

            Golden rice seems to me to be a political move, to bolster public support for GMOs in general. If millions/billions were and can be afforded to fund research into GMOs, or golden rice specifically, surely these millions/billions could have been spent on supplying vitamin A supplements in the short term and ensuring access to vitamin A rich foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, or greens of various sorts in the longer run. Dandelion greens, the proliferous weed, supplies an alright amount, for Pete’s sake. So it might not even be a matter of intensive agriculture, but encouraging the right weeds to grow and encouraging foraging! Oh, but wait, where’s the money to be made in that? My bad.

            The world’s poor and most vulnerable should not be treated this way. They deserve access to healthy, safe food, not to be used as “guinea pigs” and treated like pawns.

          • EngineerGA1

            See later discussion about the cost and difficulty of logistics and supply chain management issues in corrupt, insecure environments with no infrastructure. And also later posts on my part about how all of that leads to the destruction of local food systems anyway. Don’t even THINK about introducing a Western weed (dandelions) which would be an invasive species. Not to mention that you’re talking different climates that wouldn’t support its growth anyway.

          • Joe Caner
          • EngineerGA1

            Wait, wait, wait. We’re talking about two very different things here. One is corporate control of the seed germ plasm and stock – that is dependent upon IP regulation and legal constructs. The other is the use of GMO technology. Let’s not conflate the two.

          • Joe Caner

            Fair enough. GMO technology is a tool. It is not in and of itself inherently evil.

            The GMO industry is largely self regulated. It’s goals are to sell as much herbicides as possible and to own the world’s seed stock. Any genetic contamination that they cause is blamed upon the victims whose fields have been contaminating, and who are then coerced into paying huge settlements or refrain from using their own seed stock and are forced to become customers of their victimizers.

            One can currently only opt out of supporting these practices by purchasing organically grown produce because the industry have effectively shut down attempts at having GMO’s labeled, but they are attempting to close this loophole by having their GMO seeds qualified as organic.

            How does one separate the one from the other in our current climate?

          • EngineerGA1

            Then you have to go after the behavior of the corporations that abuse seed patents, and eliminate indirect infringement damages for inadvertent crossover (seed saving is another issue that we won’t discuss). There are mitigation measures like buffer zones and other techniques that can help; however, as with everything, the proper implementation is needed. Ultimately, though, it gets more complicated because it’s a property right issue that isn’t a federal matter per se; it’s a civil liability issue, and federal courts have, for the most part, left that kind of issue to individual states for regulation.

            GMO labeling itself is a proxy for several political and technical issues that unfortunately can’t be separated from it in the present climate. It’s a poor choice because crops that are genetically modified in ways that only affect expression levels of their own genes with no introduction of foreign genetic material and non-viral transfection are NOT the dreaded GMOs (and, frankly, herbicide resistance is another issue that’s entirely separate). [And in any case, the organic agriculture industry and the anti-GMO campaigners have shown absolute hypocrisy over the Bt corn issue. Objective academic studies that have tested actual corn and soils from organic fields and from fields with Bt corn, and found that Bt residue levels are substantially similar (with tandem GC/MS confirmation).]

          • Let’s step back a moment. Just because Monsanto may have been involved, doesn’t make the research – or its product – per se evil or unusable. Even if it was done as a PR sop, the product is still free of all IP encumbrances and it works as advertised.

            With respect to owning and controlling seed stock and food supply, that’s an issue that comes up with industrial agriculture, regardless of whether its conventional or organic. The large-scale industrial organic food operations in the USA have their own issues with that. Corporate misbehavior is a matter of incentives. You could require all agricultural corporations to become social businesses as a matter of law, since corporations are purely legal constructs that only have validity in the existence of a host state. You could also realign the profit structure.

            Right now, as an example, the institutional, incumbent utilities are fighting against distributed renewable energy (for the most part). Some states have successfully restructured their pay incentives via PUC regulation such that the utilities sponsor energy reduction efforts and get to keep some portion of the saved money that occurred via efficiency upgrades (a form of risk- and profit-sharing). Some of those states have additionally moved to incentivize grid connects from renewables, and the utilities then get compensated for peak-shifting demand and idling natural gas peak plant capacity, and so forth.

            Companies are not per se evil. They are a tool, and with the government properly aligning the incentives, they would NOT behave badly.

            You forget that corporate officers in publicly traded corporations have a legal obligation to maximize returns for their shareholders. If you could wave a magic wand and replace Monsanto’s and Syngenta’s management tomorrow with one that would take whatever steps you feel would solve this problem (renounce patent enforcement lawsuits against incidental contamination, start funding global seed banks completely, etc), the investors would then probably sue the management and remove them.

          • glacierkaren

            Couldn’t we just give them Vitamin A foods? You know, the real veggies that grow in nature? GMO’s are NOT the answer to feeding the world.

          • EngineerGA1

            We’ve been trying to feed the poor on other continents for almost a hundred years. Doesn’t work for a variety of reasons, not least because “development aid” that’s really domestic agriculture subsidies destroy local food systems and prices local farmers out of business. So “giving them” vitamin A-enriched / fortified foods is not the answer. Encouraging local food production of native cultivars that are higher in vitamin content is one answer, but not the only one.

          • EngineerGA1

            You have no appreciation of supply chain management and logistical issues involved in these things. It’s never as simple as giving them food. Most of the people that the food needs to reach are in regions of the world that don’t have infrastructure, which makes the delivery very difficult. Further, even assuming you can bring in effective transport systems (and create a local system for maintenance, spare parts, and the like), the security situations are wretched, as are the corruption. For example, many charities have to bribe the corrupt host governments extensively to be able to get food to people that need it, AND they have to bring in their own transport and O&M people because the locals will just steal everything. So saying “give them food” isn’t that simple.

            There are some countries (in North Africa and the Middle East, ironically) that do have sufficient infrastructure and CAN accept for example raw wheat and distribute it successfully, but they are the rarity in the matrix of transporting aid.

          • I went into that on a sub-thread. The logistics are essentially impossible in combat zones or areas that have any security issues, complexed by extremely corrupt governments. Further, any imports aside from emergency supplies have the potential to destroy the local food culture and drive all the farmers off their land because they can’t compete. (That being said, I’m not idealizing the life of the smallholder because it’s pretty miserable. But completely destroying local agriculture by dumping foreign grain and inputs isn’t a viable or sustainable solution either).

          • Walter Stuart

            The life of a poor farmer may be miserable by our standards, but it *is* a life.

          • peseta11

            I’m interested in how you know that anti-GE ‘crowds’ prevented deployment of golden rice. I’d heard that those given the rice didn’t like either the look or the taste, or both.

          • EngineerGA1

            To avoid a very long and repitative discussion, see
            http://www.goldenrice.org/Content3-Why/why3_FAQ.php

          • peseta11

            Thanks for the reference, which however isn’t nearly as objective as Wikipedia, nor does it begin to answer the points raised.
            Interested onlookers may want to consider WHO’s Francesco Branca’s take on the issue, and/or the UN Special Rapporteur Olivier de Schutter on both agroecology, nutrition and land ownership as they relate to the Right to Food.
            I agree, long and repetitive discussion is less productive than published approaches to the underlying problems of access to land and fresh traditional foods. There is no world shortage of sources of beta-carotene AND other nutrients.

          • I will go look into Branca’s take on the issue. I’ve only read a little bit of Olivier de Schutter’s work, so that I will do as well. Although, long term, I think migrating from using arable land to vertical farms will be necessary because cities are simply the most effective means to achieve the synergies in energy use that are required to migrate to a full zero-carbon economy, which will inevitably require minimizing transport use – and correspondingly, removing the need to transport food from outlying regions. Logistics have to be minimized to reduce carbon footprint.

            Vandana Shiva is a whole other matter, and I feel she is an utter and complete fraud, and a horrible advocate. Despite her, the Indian government and academics have developed fully functioning indigenous plant breeding and genetics industry, and are producing their own GE brinjal (for example). Much of her vitriol is directed at international agribusiness, and I believe she will have a much harder time arguing against indigenously produced GE plants and plant products that do not have foreign IP issues or ownership.

            GE on its merits is a different discussion, and one that India will hopefully have despite her, rather than because of her.

          • peseta11

            I wish you good reading.
            As to the fraud accusation, that response may be partly failure to comprehend the cultural depths behind what may seem objective science, as are found so often, in my limited experience of this site dedicated to science-based optimizing of human nutrition, in public presentations of ‘findings’ which may be made either to contradict otherwise established findings or to sow doubt and confusion.
            With that, I have no defense of VS, since no facts were alleged.

          • She makes moral arguments about the nature of society using food production and science as a cover to advance her agenda. If she wishes to make those arguments, she has every right to do so. But she does everyone a disservice by using pseudoscience to do so. Gandhi’s writings showed he had many of the same feelings. But he did not try to use science to advance his arguments.

      • Morveggies

        What of the 800 plus scientists that have protested to governments around the world on GMOs, are they scientists that are anti-science?

        • Chiropractors are not doctors. You sound like the global warming deniers. The overwhelming consensus of relevant scientists-like immunologists, plant biologists, and molecular biologists have affirmed GMO safety, as have multiple Cochrane meta-analyses.

          • Morveggies

            Hundreds of scientists anti-GMOs, not doctors or chiropractors, are alarmed because of lack of proof that they are safe.

          • You want 100 PubMed citations for GMO safety? I can do that.

            Also, those scientists use a tautology: they want more human safety data but argue it’s unethical to Perform human testing because they cause harm. Also, population level data shows there are zero acute toxicity or allergies to any specific, measurable plant components. All the harms that are proposed are long-term and immune mediated, and while SOME studies have shown slight gene expression (e.g. Transcriptomics) differences, there haven’t been quantifiable metabolic or phenotypic variation of “standard” variety versus same variety with added genetic material.

          • Morveggies

            Do you have the studies on the effects of GMOs on mice? Cancer? Unlike you must, I don’t have any investments in GMOs, just concerned for my fellow men. The toxins from the pesticides is enough for me to never eat them. Do you think the pesticides are safe? Should GMOs be labeled as such?

          • Unfortunately, I’m not handy to a desktop, but I’ll pull PubMed cites to counter yours…as soon as you start posting them. Also, let’s not forget that most research criticizing GMO research is funded by the supplement industry and Big Organic. There’s huge amounts of money on BOTH sides of this fight.

          • glacierkaren

            How much is your income comes from industry-related work, Eric?

          • That’s a more complicated issue. When you use “GMO” as a shorthand for pesticide-resistant or self-production of a natural pesticide crops (e.g. Roundup Ready crops and Bt corn) which isn’t an accurate description. Bt corn is itself an example of utter hypocrisy since organic farmers are allowed to spray the Bt bacterium, which produces Bt, and market their crops as “organic.” That’s legal sophistry since tandem GC/MS studies have repeatedly demonstrated Bt levels in the corn (and residual soil concentrations) are comparable.

            Does “GMO” serve as shorthand for that, or a plant or organism with FOREIGN inserted material? (Eg gene gun or Agronacterium-mediated gene transfer).

            3rd generation genetically-modified crops (eg RNAi constructs with NO foreign genetic material) no longer have any foreign genetic material introduced, such as the Simplot potato. Instead their own expression levels of genes are modulated using for example gene silencing via RNA interference, with modification via Crispr-Cas9 or similar technique.

            Pesticide overuse and residue is a HUGE issue, and I’m with you on that 100%. But GMO labeling should NOT be used as a surrogate for that problem.

          • Scotster

            GMO Safety? What, based on the required three month animal study? The studies are not long enough, and those that have continued these studies past the three months have proven adverse effects to the test animals livers and kidneys from expose to GMO food.

            “”In the three GM maize varieties that formed the basis of this investigation, new side effects linked to the consumption of these cereals were revealed, which were sex- and often dose-dependent. Effects were mostly concentrated in kidney and liver function, the two major diet detoxification organs, but in detail differed with each GM type.””

            A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health
            http://www.ijbs.com/v05p0706.htm

          • EngineerGA1

            I’ve bookmarked this comment. Will get back to you when I get off work. You’re obviously interested in evidence-based discussion, which I applaud. Nobody else here wants to even discuss research, it’s all essentially politics masquerading as intelligent commentary.

          • glacierkaren

            So you blog from work? What industry do you work in? Who writes your paycheck?

          • Kimberly

            Quite simply, it’s the pro-GMO side that would need to prove its extraordinary claim that GMO foods are necessary to feed the world. Organic methods, permaculture, etc. are the safer route preferred by the majority. The introduction of more and more GM foods threatens the integrity of those methods, when GM crops contaminate (breed with) organic and non-GM crops. So we’re talking a complete subversion of democracy here, the eventual taking away of people’s choice to eat organic and non-GMO. Here in Canada, one study found that 90% of tested organic canola samples contained GM canola genes, for instance. So for every crop they modify, it’s reasonable to think that eventually those crops will contaminate the non-GE versions. So, eventually it will be goodbye non-GMO corn, soy, canola, papaya, squash, etc. and in future, apples, potatoes, and so on.

            This is why labelling isn’t enough. We need to stop supporting the growth of these crops entirely, and eventually get a ban on them. The best thing to do is stop supporting factory farming if you eat animal foods (eat only grass-fed animals and their products), and eat organic/non-GMO soy, sugar, corn, canola, zucchini/squash, and papaya. Animal agriculture is the biggest problem here in terms of GMOs, but we need to cut support of all GMO crops.

            I also agree that testing GMOs is unethical, and so I’m not a proponent of “more testing”. The reality is we don’t need this technology at all, and if we truly respect living beings, we won’t be willing to experiment on them in this manner at all. GMOs are about making money, not “saving the world”. We have everything we need to save the world already with the food that we have, with a shift towards more plant-based eating, with a shift to agricultural methods that protect and increase soil biodiversity as opposed to stripping it, etc.

          • EngineerGA1

            First generation and second generation GMO crops that were produced to have herbicide tolerance were a terrible idea, as was pointed out from the beginning with regard to the development of “super weeds” and so forth. However, second and third generation GMO crops – primarily those produced using direct transformation with CRISPR-Cas9, ZFN / TALEN, and so forth that do not require viral transfection – eliminate concerns about off-target mutations and no longer require introduction of foreign genetic material (at least in some cases, such as for knock-in mutations and RNAi). Truthfully, there is no way to introduce drought tolerance and a lot of the other genes necessary for large-scale crop cultivation under climate change conditions fast enough via traditional breeding. Changes that are more significant than you imagine will be necessary for rapid adaptation (assuming we continue using arable land for food production, and don’t migrate to vertical farming). Jill Farrant’s work – and her TED Talk – about introducing the drought tolerance characteristics from resurrection plants into primary grain crops is a great example. It is already happening, and simply put will be necessary to prevent massive crop failures across Africa within 10 years. Watch Michael Pollan’s documentary on Earth where they discuss how the Moroccan wheat harvests are beginning to fail with the changing climate.

          • EngineerGA1

            That study only examines old data, although the statistical analyses are interesting. The original Roundup Ready crops were produced with gene gun technology, and could have introduced off-target mutations. However, our ability to measure subtle effects were also substantially lower than they are today. The current generation were produced via Agrobacterium transformation, which is substantially less likely to create unwanted effects. The forthcoming versions will be produced via methods that do not involve viral transfection or physical breach – and CRISPR/Cas9 and ZFN/TALENs have been shown to have very low off-target effects already. That technology – at least CRISPR – is improving in accuracy and efficacy monthly. So, while potentially valid, it will be a moot point within a couple of years. Also, the paper you cite doesn’t provide any transcriptomic or proteomic data. I’d want to see kidney ultrastructural data before I give those arguments credence, and there just isn’t any accompanying substantial evidence backing those claims.

          • Scotster

            Off target mutations? Lets just say there are no “off target” mutations. My opinion is that ANY modification of genetic material of a plant or animal, may result in unforeseen consequences for those that consume it, and for the overall ecosystem and its possible negative effects on other species. The bottom line is, you don’t know, nobody knows at this time because we have not had enough time to make a valid determination. It is not our job as consumers to PROVE these genetic modifications are safe or not safe, it is the responsibility of those that are playing God with them to do so.

          • Walter Stuart

            Yes, animal studies need to be multigenerational especially with short lived animals like rodents.

          • Edward

            Give me any of them that go past 16 weeks, that’s when the in house data fell apart and studies were cut off. When the data went south the studies published in part. That’s not good enough for the human race I’m part of.

          • glacierkaren

            The studies showing GMO’s are NOT safe in most cases are out there. You just have to look for the studies not paid for by BigAg in the US. There is a reason countries are banning GMOs. Its not a decision to be taken lightly. You sound like a paid blogger shill for the industry. Check from Monsanto, anyone?

          • Thea

            delete​

          • EngineerGA1

            I post under my real name and my real identity. I love how a lot of people here hide behind pseudonyms and pseudo-anonymity to launch personal attacks.

          • Thea

            The (volunteer) moderators all do our best to delete posts that include personal attacks or that have any content which breaks the NutritionFacts posting rules. (Some posts may get through.) The rules for posting on NutritionFacts can be found on the FAQ page, linked to at the bottom of every video page. Vigorous debate is welcome as long as it is done *respectfully.* I have personally deleted several posts that included personal attacks on you.

            Question: Just out of curiosity, are you saying that you real name is EngineerGA1? Not that it matters either way. I was just wondering.

          • Thea

            glacierkaren: Personal attacks are not allowed on this site. Your post would have been great if you had stopped before “You sound like a…” Your argument was strong enough without resorting to name calling. Hope your future posts will fit the rules so that I don’t have to delete them. Thanks.

          • Jim

            Actually chiropractors are doctors of chiropractic health. If what you are saying is that their practice is not relevant to valued healthcare, then you will need
            to include much of the medical doctors in practice.

          • EngineerGA1

            Chiropractors are trained and skilled in manipulation of the spine. I see one every week because I have a chronic back problem that wasn’t treated as a child. The ones I deal with, to their credit, do not try to be medical doctors. In any case, asking a GP or internist about nutrition or several other topics – on any other than consultations about requirements and generic sources of deficiencies – isn’t fair to them or you. They might receive sixteen hours of training on that in medical school. There ARE doctors who specialize in medical nutrition, and there are plenty of clinical nutritionists and certified dietitians who DO specialize in it, and as such you should be consulting them.

            Now if you want to talk about DOs, or some *certified* holistic / integrative medicine providers, that’s a different discussion.

      • glacierkaren

        The “anti-GMO crowd is anti-science in general”? How about “the anti-GMO crowd looks at science, focuses on that which is independently confirmed. And for this reason, many in the “anti-GMO” crowd want to be informed of what’s used to create their food. Look at science, not pseudo-science paid for by Big Ag, and insist on GMO-free choices.

        • EngineerGA1

          The supplement industry, which is a $30 BILLION dollar monstrosity – which, for the most part, sell unproven products that don’t even have FDA GRAS certification, or have any reputable research on their mechanism of action – is its own Supplement-Industrial complex, that I don’t trust either. I use certain herbs, which have extensive documentation in the literature as to their mechanisms of action, from organic, sustainable, certified suppliers. There are significant numbers of herbs and fungals that are immunomodulators which are very powerful, BUT they have to be prepared in the right way, taken at the right dose, against the right type of pathogen or allergen to be effective.

        • EngineerGA1

          You assume that Big Organic doesn’t have a bias in this favor? When it’s up to 6% of total sales, the business model now is to grow the market share now.

          • peseta11

            Most of ‘Big Organic’ is niche marketing by established giant food corporations, not growers nor farmers. The latter group is targeted by GMO/GEs, not the former.
            Phil Howard at Michigan State has done some fine summations of corporate structure in the industry.

          • That’s true. However, that complicates discussions of funding bias a LOT. It makes it harder to track and muddies the water. One of the fundamental issues is the assumption that funding = research bias. Since (other than government) there really aren’t funding sources for nutrition studies that AREN’T industry, obviously, that does indicate some level of (unconscious) bias, but since industry funding seems to be inter alia (from your viewpoint) inherently unacceptable, then how do you do that? And if you accept funding from organizations that assume all GMOs or techniques used to produce them, doesn’t that introduce substantial inherent bias in that direction?

          • peseta11

            The old solution, when the US was much less rich, both nominally and per capita, was more govt funding. But in this even less rational era (see any headline), such solutions are unacceptable, since a richer nation can’t afford to fund research any longer.
            A recent article and graph in Nature showed relatively recent changes in R&D support for several classes of science. Over 3 years, US support dropped slightly, and China’s rose 37%, to nearly equal the US level. We may be exporting research until such time as we can export the .1%.

          • Hopefully after this election, we will not need to have this discussion any more. The Republican Party will cleave itself in two or more pieces and the opposition to rational social and economic policies – based on pure religion – will not be able to use that apparatus to impose its vision of an ideal society on us. We will have different arguments, but hopefully we can agree to restore scientific and R&D funding to levels at least where they were as a GDP percentage thirty years ago.

      • Dave

        Yeah, when I see someone buying organic and non-GMO foods, I immediately assume they are a climate-change denier as well, since they are anti-science. I’d be shocked to see anyone who believes in climate change at Whole Foods.

        • It’s completely the converse, actually. Generally Whole Foods shoppers ALWAYS believe in climate change. Most aren’t as anti-GMO as you think, though most do try to buy organics (say what you like about whether or not organic is per se better, they are generally smart enough to know that organics, for the most part, have lower pesticide levels (which is scientifically validated, if by which you mean “synthetic” pesticides). Some organic vegetables do have higher levels of certain nutrients, as well. Doctor Gregor’s research summaries (which I would say rise to the level of rigor of most meta-analyses) does indicate that organic vegetables should produce better health outcomes).

          That having been said, most anti-vaxxers are in the Whole Foods demographic (not saying that the two are the same, merely that the former group tends to be contained within the latter).

          Almost everyone ignores some inconvenient scientific truths. It’s just that here, the anti-vaxxers are not welcome, because Dr. Gregor has done numerous videos, repeatedly as new evidence has come out, showing again and again that vaccines are safe, and that the purveyor of that fine piece of research has had his medical license stripped and the Lancet retracted his article [which, by the way, has never been successfully replicated].

          • Dave

            My comment was sarcastic, thought I made it obvious enough. My point (in response to EngineerGA1’s comment) was that there are anti-science people and they generally don’t overlap at all with the people who buy non-GMO foods. Also, there are many reasons to be against GMO foods besides thinking they are unsafe.

    • Thea

      Ellen: I agree, it is pure madness. But more than that, it is a tragedy for real humans with real families. I am so sorry to hear about your sister. You are doing what you can to protect others from this suffering and pain. Thank you for your book and compassion.

    • EngineerGA1

      The short answer is, it’s very, very complicated. Antibiotic resistance has fifty or sixty years worth of literature devoted to how it happens and how to contain / minimize / prevent it from spreading. The use of any antibiotic inherently produces resistance. Minimizing their issue is the easiest solution, but that’s easier said than done. Telling parents their kid with a runny nose – or the parents themselves – that no, they can’t have an antibiotic for a cold, on a consistent basis, can get a doctor fired for bad customer ratings on those meaningless surveys. Also, there’s no point-of-use diagnostics (as of yet) to differentiate common upper respiratory viral and bacterial infections, so there’s simply no way to reliably determine who needs them.

      • payoung NF moderator

        You are right it is a very complicated issue but as Dr G states in his blog post the major offenses are occurring in the food animal industry. As a practitioner who regularly has to have that difficult conversation with a parent or even an adult about why they probably don’t need antibiotics I believe they are important conversations to have. Most people are not requesting antibiotics because they love them, they just want to feel better and they think there’s a chance the antibiotic will make them feel better. Sometimes if we can offer them a more natural way to help alleviate the symptoms while their body fights the virus they are open to it. On occasion after all conversations have been exhausted we do give in and prescribe to “keep the peace”. In my experience there are no doctors facing termination for not prescribing an antibiotic when it didn’t need to be prescribed. However, I will admit it’s unpleasant to have to answer to a patient complaint that was based on the fact that they weren’t prescribed what they wanted. We go through the same thing (and probably more frequently) in regard to not prescribing narcotic pain medications. It’s one of those little injustices that comes with the territory.

        • EngineerGA1

          I agree with Dr. G, as I’ve said before. I suppose I”m trying to be more pragmatic. Responsible prescribers such as yourself cut into the demand for antibiotics, which is one of the issues. Another issue is that, aside from resistance issues, certain antibiotics massively disrupt the gut micro biome for up to a year after their use. Not a simple issue. If I have to take antibiotics I try to get older generation agents. Most bacteria don’t need nuclear options.

    • Joe Caner

      My condolences for your loss Ellen. Thank you for sharing.
      I have not insisted that my seventeen year old son go vegan because he spends half of his time with his mother, but I will not have meat in my home because I consider it a biohazard.
      Handling and eating meat is dangerous. People are routinely sickened by meat and they attributed their food poisoning to the “stomach flu” as if there was such a malady.
      I don’t think people want to think about the risks inherent in meat consumption. It is just another danger that they have come to accept in a world full of a hazards.
      People have a significantly greater chance being injured by meat than by ISIS, but they are terrified by the latter and have little fear of the former. If only Fox Noise would do some stories on MRSA.

      • EngineerGA1

        I’ll agree about meat handling being a safety issue. It doesn’t come in the door of my house (fish occasionally does, but that’s another story, and the handling requirements for certain types of fish, so long as it’s shipped frozen and kept refrigerated, are much less stringent and, in general, the bacteria it is are peculiar to fish and won’t really hurt humans)

    • toomanycrayons

      “How many people have to die?”-Ellen Jaffe Jones

      Before they learn to wash their hands and surfaces after handling raw meat, food in general? Don’t let stupid people cook your food, might be a start. Then clean up the industry by paying higher taxes to enforce the current window-dressing legislation. Anybody can get elected making tough promises. Elect someone who promises to tax you more to keep them. Yeah, tough sell, isn’t it.

  • dawn

    This just makes me sick. It’s high time something was done to stop this. What can we as individuals do?

    • MC

      Individuals can stop purchasing animal products. Supply & demand.

      • Organic agriculture requires organic fertilizer. With no herds of large ruminants, there simply won’t be alternative fertilizer sources, since synthesized chemical ones can’t be used. That’s the real issue. And I have yet to see anyone propose a viable, scalable alternative to manures

        • Thea

          Eric: The vegan agriculture movement is really taking off. You could look into that if you are interested.

        • Paul

          That’s interesting. So those of us who eat vegan not only for health reasons but for cruelty reasons are actually caught in a Catch-22 of sorts?

          • EngineerGA1

            Quite possibly yes. There is some measure of hope. Thea made a perfectly valid point about vegan agriculture being possible via hydroponics and scaling much better when using vertical farming techniques. That being said, I’m not sure about the nitrogen source though. The nitrogen is always the kicker. [Well, the phosphorus and potassium are issues too; there just aren’t many potash mines in the world, and the reserves are running pretty low. It’s possibly to reclaim it from bones and the like. [The population is getting large enough now that pulling large amounts of potassium and phosphorus out of circulation globally for geologic time by sequestering them in coffins is actually going to become a significant problem]. But that is a whole other discussion.]

          • Jim Felder

            I don’t view use of chemical methods to fix nitrogen as being inherently evil or even unhealthy. To me the really healthy parts of organic agriculture is the avoidance of known toxins in the form of insecticides and herbicides.

            That said I, like Joe Caner, think we should be as closed cycle as we can get with all agricultural wastes as well as human wastes recycled back into the fields so that the amount of artificially produced nitrogen in the form of ammonia required make up for the less than 100% efficiency of the recycling of nitrogen is kept to a minimum.

            This type of system is completely the reverse of today’s system where nitrogen is hauled away to CAFOs where it goes into millions of tons of manure which as said elsewhere is washed into our waterways causing dead zones. And to make up for that millions of tons of fertilizers are manufactured and over-applied to crop lands with the resulting run off causing even larger increases in algea blooms and the resulting toxicity and dead zones.

            I live on Lake Erie and the last several summers have seen more and more of the lake covered in toxic algae blooms with huge fish kills and even cities like Toledo having to shut down their drinking water plants that pull from the lake. For us most of that is agricultural run off since the number of CAFOs in the watershed is relatively small. But the same can’t be said for the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and the Gulf of Mexico that they empty into.

          • EngineerGA1

            I had to do some reading, but that’s a very fair point. Shifting agriculture from soil entirely is, of course, much better in that it can lead to nearly total close system.
            https://www.ted.com/talks/caleb_harper_this_computer_will_grow_your_food_in_the_future?language=en

        • Joe Caner

          There is no shortage of animal waste to be had.
          Human Waste Used by 200 Million Farmers, Study Says
          http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/08/080821-human-waste.html

          There are operations in existence now that recover fertilizer from waste treatment plants now: http://www.sustainableplant.com/2013/08/wastewater-plant-recovers-nutrients-produces-commercial-fertilizer/

          • Thea

            Joe Caner: That is SO interesting!!! And it makes so much sense. Thanks for sharing!

            I read a book not too long ago that talked about a company somewhere that safely recovers dog waste, which would normally not be safe. But they do practices that make it safe. So, why not human waste too? Or do dogs, cats and humans? No need to torture the cows and humans (who eat the cows and get sick).

          • Joe Caner

            That’s correct Thea. There certainly isn’t a sh!t shortage. There isn’t even a solutions shortage. What we have is an accountability shortage.

            If industry was obliged to pay for the damage that is being done to the commons, air, water, weather, topsoil, biodiversity, deforestation, human suffering, etc, then it would make your head spin as to the speed that revolutionary changes would be implemented to transform our planet.

            As it is now in our current fantasy based economy, the planet and all life on it is an externality, and only currency is considered real. The planet is being destroyed for the accumulation of computer records in financial databases.

            It makes all other previous delusions pale in comparison.

          • Thea

            Re: If industry was obliged to pay…
            That’s what I say often too. If people had to really pay the true cost of their cheese burger, they would not be able to afford it and things would likely right themselves naturally.

            Great post! Loved your turns of phrase.

          • Guest

            Joe: re: “If industry was obliged to pay for the damage …” , then in a capitalistic country the industry would pass the cost on to the consumer and the average person would foot the bill.

            And “If industry was obliged to pay for the damage …” , then in a a socialist/communist country, the state-owned industry would pass the cost on to the average taxpayer who would foot the bill.

            Now what is your solution again? ;-)

          • Joe Caner

            Then by your own definition we already are living in a socialist/communist country because the costs are already being passed down to the average taxpayers, and generations of average taxpayers yet unborn.

            We don’t live in a system of state owned industry.
            We live in a system of a industry owned states.

            I stand by my previous assertions.

          • Guest

            I totally agree with your statement “We don’t live in a system of state owned industry.We live in a system of a industry owned states.” I think it’s called “crony capitalism”, but is really a mix of capitalism and socialism. The only point I was trying to make is that I don’t think “making Industry pay” would work. And going to a purely socialist system wouldn’t help either, as many people are drawn to these days. Unfortunately, there’s no “free lunch”! I don’t know what the best solution would be other than educate as many people as possible in the harm, both to themselves and to the environment, of eating animal products. This website is doing a great start in that direction.

          • Joe Caner

            I don’t know what pure socialism is or what it would even look like. I have heard our economic system referred to as one that privatizes profits while socializing loss.

            However one cares to describe it, resources and labor are used to produce goods and services. The benefits derived from the goods and services are balanced against the cost incurred in their creation. If one can get others to bear the costs while enjoying the benefits, then a “free lunch” is being enjoyed by some while others are left with the bill. It’s not that the lunch is free. It’s that those eating the lunch are not being held accountable for paying all of the costs which leads to what appears to be rational behavior when viewed from the perspective of the beneficiaries, but total insanity when one attempt to balance the accounting.

            It’s a systemic problem. Those benefiting from this arrangement are making the arrangements. Getting them consider other arrangements would require either the action or inaction from a significant number people. So yes, the refusal to purchase meat and dairy by enough people would indeed be a revolutionary act.

          • Guest

            I think your description of “free lunch” is correct in the context of what’s going on today. When I used that term, it was to indicate that “someone” has to pay either by labor or money (a substitute for labor). Unfortunately, I think greed is built into human nature so realistically speaking, it will always be with us.no matter what form of government or economic system we have. Socialist systems can be filled with just as much, if not more greed than capitalistic systems. Of course, the degree of greed varies tremendously between individuals. Getting back to “making industry pay”, I assume you mean through taxes on the companies. This is where we must be very careful. It sounds too much like the government choosing “winners and losers”. I don’t think I would put that much trust in government, given it’s track record! In a democracy, I would think that educating the populace so they would stop buying harmful products would be a much better way. Then the natural law of “supply and demand” would determine which companies survived and which didn’t rather than a powerful government.

          • Thea

            Guest: re: “I assume you mean through taxes…” That’s not what I mean. At least not in the sense that I think that you are talking about. We are talking about externalities here, plus removing government subsidies. In other words, I’m just talking about making the animal industry cover all their own costs, thus making their product that consumers buy show the true cost.
            .
            For example, the animal industry is allowed to dump mountains/rivers of animal waste raw on the planet. This is a cost to all of us (which most remain ignorant, so don’t complain) that the animal industry does not have to cover. The animal industry must be required to pay for responsibly managing that waste. How about green house emissions? That’s a huge cost on the entire planet. The animal industry must not be allowed to continue this practice. Etc. There is also the cost of making their own industries safe for the humans who work there. (There are all sorts of deaths and PTSD for humans working in those industries that they have gotten away with not resolving/fixing.) And then there are the government subsidies in various forms, including pushing animal foods for school lunches. Those too must stop.
            .
            Between covering all their costs and removing the government subsidies, the animal industry will pay big time without outright extra taxes. When an industry must make sure its product shows it’s true cost, the supply and demand for the product is corrected. Fixing the current problems is not about government picking who will win. This is just government plugging a well-known loophole in the capitalist system. This is basic economics 101.

          • Guest

            Thea: Oh, OK, I understand your point now, and totally agree! But it seems rather difficult to put a dollar cost on some of the things you mentioned, eg emissions into the air and pollutants in the water. And I definitely agree with removing any government subsidies for any industry. Perhaps by getting the word out on how bad animals products are for both human consumption and the environment, the demand will dwindle to a minuscule amount. This website is doing a fantastic job of educating the public! Thanks for the clarification.

          • Joe Caner

            Firstly, someone is paying, but there is another coin of the realm other than labor or currency. That coin is life sustaining ecological processes of our planet, and it is undervalued when it is being considered at all. We and all future generations are all paying for our current unsustainable economic operating assumptions with the short sighted, hyper exploitation of our planet.

            Secondly, I going to duck the whole “human nature” thing except to say that it seems to be malleable and is affected by its cultural environment. That “greed is built into human nature” is a cultural meme often used to justify certain behavior patterns irrespective of its consistency between different cultures. One can just as easily assert that cooperation is built into human nature, but clearly there are differing levels of cooperation depending on the cultural context. If one assumes that greed is a constant, than one can safely eliminated from consideration.

            Thirdly, to those familiar with Hegelian dialectics and its concept of thesis, antithesis and synthesis, the whole idea of capitalism or socialism is so 20th century. We have a capitalist and a socialist system. They have been fused into a fundamentally new synthesis which is built on a foundation made from the rubble of the old systems. Call it globalism. Call it crony capitalism. Call it the new world order. Call it socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. Call it the Illuminati. Call it the Beast. Call this behemoth whatever you will. What it is, is the new thesis which has transcended the ancient regime and is frighteningly efficient at marshaling and mobilizing all of the world’s resources. The new antithesis may very well be our survival as a species.

            I don’t put trust in governments either. ‘[G]overnment [are already] choosing ‘winners and losers'” because this system of economic power is selecting governments that carry out policies favorable to its dictates. We do not live in a democracy. Democracy literally translates into people rule. Our government was formulated as a marketplace where competing interests come together to hammer out policy. As power and wealth concentrates into fewer hands, there is less real debate regarding that direction.

            I am not talking about “making industry pay” or about taxes, although, taxes could be used as a tool to drive behavioral modification. How does one induce those holding the reigns of power pay for what they are getting for free or to tax themselves?

            What I said was that, “If industry was obliged to pay for the damage that is being done…revolutionary changes would be implemented.”

            I agree. “I would think that educating the populace so they would stop buying harmful products would be a much better way.”

            That doesn’t mean that one refrains from the political process. Politicians need money and votes. Industry needs our business. Refrain from voting for the least worst candidate. Vote for the one that most closely represents your ideas.

            When possible, refrain from purchase products from industries and organizations whose practices are destroying our biosphere.

          • EngineerGA1

            Joe, that requires inter alia the existence of a clean supply chain, which there really isn’t. They’re working on it ,but the supplier base is still tiny. Cradle-to-grave product life cycle management, at the cost of the producer – as practiced in Europe and particularly in Scandinavia – can mitigate and offset much of if not all of the negative aspects of the current consumerist paradigm.

          • EngineerGA1

            Refusal to purchase meat and dairy, even at large scale, would have to be a sustainable boycott, not just a token protest. That WOULD start bankrupting those industries, which absent government intervention is the only way to effect change.

          • EngineerGA1

            The “guest” obviously doesn’t know anything epigenetics. We’re screwing up the germline without even beginning to understand the damage we’re doing. It may be possible to fix it down the line by resetting more methylation and acetylation marks in embryos, but that has its own ethical complications, even if technically feasible.

          • EngineerGA1

            To which I say the consumer SHOULD foot the bill. Without massive subsidies, fruit and produce, particularly grains, potatoes, and legumes would be cheap, and meat and processed food would be expensive. Consumers would then follow the incentives and stop purchasing expensive products (the fact that it would be economically beneficial AND would improve their health is incidental to the economic benefits, though)

          • glacierkaren

            Smart thinking. I’ll pass on the sh^t burger tho.

          • EngineerGA1

            New technology. As with the vertical farming TED Talk I shared, we can overcome the limitations of previous generations of infrastructure.

          • EngineerGA1

            That requires heavy metal chelation and other strategies. As you say, there are bacterial sequestration and filtration mechanism, but they don’t always deal with the trace medications and things that are selective estrogen modulators and other things. But there are routes forward, but they ARE more expensive so it’s challenging to implement those solutions in economically constrained circumstances.

          • EngineerGA1

            The use of human waste is viable, BUT it has to be properly processed. Historically it has been used in agriculture across the world (e.g. “nightsoil” in Korea), but that had a huge set of problems. Use of human waste in the rice paddies of Asia led to much human suffering as parasites would enter the body through the feet and so forth.

          • EngineerGA1

            Joe,

            Thanks for the link. I can’t follow threads real-time. The low-tech article was very insightful, I knew that the East had significant humanure cycling, I didn’t know it was effectively industrial-scale even then. Also, the vacuum system I had never heard of. Fascinating engineering. That being said, it didn’t discuss retrofit, which would obviously be much more expensive (and, from a practical point, clear clogs would be harder because it would automatically require augers, but that’s secondary).

            That ALL being said, the author concludes with his goal of decentralizing the population, which is simply not feasible. Economic growth, technological progress, and lower carbon footprints are and will be driven by continued urbanization. Simply put, the economies of scale work better. High population density encourages walking, biking, and mass transit, all of which drastically lower carbon footprint. It also facilitates converting surface transport to a commodity and greatly simplifies logistics and transport electrification (which, simply put, is the ONLY long-term solution to ground-level urban air pollution). Not to mention that specialization and education are more effective, space can be reused constantly at multiuser facilities like universities and community centers, medical care can be centralized, researchers work in co-shared facilities which increase collaboration and innovation, and on-and-on. And if done properly, vertical farming solves the need of the city to import food and allow nearly complete closed-cycle waste reclamation (at least sewage and organic matter)

        • peseta11

          John Jeavons has done and continues to do work quantifying, not just land and water needs, but biomass accumulation for greater fertility. Over the decades, he;s transformed a near-worthless bit of land in northern CA into productive greenery. Start there.

          • Thank you, I will go look at the literature that he’s generated. That being said, permaculture solutions can avoid that dilemma; however, those take a lot of dedicated person-hours and at least several years to create a successful setup (at minimum). I also posted some links on starting to bypass the arable land step in the first place. Vertical farms under very tight computer-controlled conditions with all parameters (nutritional, humidity, water, light, etc) optimized have the potential to negate the carbon footprint of agriculture all together.

    • Thea

      dawn: It makes me sick too. I’m sure someone could make a cause of this and crusade to stop these specific practices. But I think that doesn’t get at the root problem, which is that animal agriculture is unsustainable for a variety of reasons, not to mention unethical. So, I think the best thing individuals can do is refrain from eating all animal products, make yourself a role model, and when possible, support bigger actions which lead to more people eschewing animal products.

      • Propose a viable, scalable replacement for animal manures for nitrogen sources for large-scale organic farming. Just one. Crop rotation won’t work because we don’t have sufficient arable land to put the amount required for a season of nitrogen-fixing crops like legumes out of production without significant population reduction. Not to mention that plant protein sources are generally not complete, and soy isn’t a viable alternative because of the scale-up required. You’d have to take out all of the Amazon to produce that much soy.

        • Thea

          I saw an article the other day about someone doing a vegan vertical farm with just hydroponics. (And it was using 98% *less* water than a traditional farm!) It was producing a giant amount of plant food free from animal manure in just 36 square feet. Again, you can look it up if you are interested. I’ve already done the research to my satisfaction.

          • EngineerGA1

            I’m actually a HUGE proponent of vertical farms, given that they free food production from the use of arable land and could be situated in urban environments to avoid all the transportation and logistics issues associated with food production in rural areas and consumption in urban ones. Hydroponics are a little more complicated (although they can save tremendous amounts of water compared to conventional production). My ax to grind with that technique has more to do with the fact it’s primarily used to produce food that has no nutritional value, particularly iceberg lettuce and the like. It *can* be used to produce high-quality, heirloom produce, but that hasn’t been the historical use. If the two techniques are combined – as you say – the production efficiencies and synergies are VERY impressive. Although I know you’re a vegan, combined solutions like aquaponics can produce good yields of both food and fish, which – although it is meat – is far less environmentally damaging and is not very intelligent, so animal cruelty issues inherent in using mammals are largely negated (if the issue is potential consciousness and fear / pain).

          • Thea

            re: ” fish, which – … is far less environmentally damaging and is not very intelligent, so animal cruelty issues inherent in using mammals are largely negated (if the issue is potential consciousness and fear / pain).” I sued to think the same things. Then I educated myself and found out differently.

          • EngineerGA1

            Wait wait wait. I’m not talking about fish farming / aquaculture, which is a whole other issue, and has a big environmental footprint. I’m talking about the use of fish in aquaponics, being defined as a closed loop system where fish eat food and their waste is then used to fertilize and grow plants hydroponically. The food can be some kind of algae or weed that grows in the fish portion of the tank cycling system. …

            But is your point about the impact of fish farming, potential consciousness of fish, or both?

          • EngineerGA1

            There are only a couple of vertical farms being in the entire world, though. It’s still a technique very much in its infancy, though, which makes me extremely sad.

        • Joe Caner

          Industrial western agricultural practices do not rely on animal manures for its nitrogen based fertilization. CAFO based animal production results in so much waste in such concentrated amounts that it is literally going to waste as it is flushed down the river and spread over vast areas to saturate the ground water while anhydrous ammonia from natural gas is used to fertilize crops that are primarily used to feed animals in CAFOs. This system of agriculture is depleting the top soil and polluting the water.

          Getting back to using more sustainable practices such as crop rotations and using manure to fertilize crops to grow crops intended for human consumption would end up producing less meat, a healthier environment and healthier people.

          • EngineerGA1

            I understand your point – but I wasn’t talking about CAFOs or industrial-based agriculture, I was talking about specific manures for organic farming, since they can’t (by the legal definitions set up by the industry itself) take synthetic nitrogen into the system. Also, we simply don’t have enough arable land to go back to crop rotation because of the current population, much less the future population. Also you have to account for the loss of arable land that’s coming in the next thirty-fifty years because of climate change. The areas that agriculture will shift to do NOT have soils accumulated over the course of millennia and won’t be able to sustain the yields we’re getting today.

          • Joe Caner

            How does one separate the current heavily chemicalize and subsidized agricultural system which produces cheap surplus grain for the meat, soft drink and energy industries from the industries that it serves?

            Are you positively absolutely certain that there is not enough arable land to grow enough food in a sustainable way to feed people instead of using it to feed livestock, the soft drink industry and for ethanol production?

            Did you know that there are places on this earth where sustainable agriculture has been practiced for hundreds of years where the top soil is measured in meters and not centimeters?

            Modern agricultural practices have lead to the loss of arable land due to soil erosion. The rich legacy of topsoil that was the hallmark of the great plains have been washed away into the Gulf of Mexico. We cannot afford to continue to business as usual and expect to feed the world.

          • EngineerGA1

            I’m sure there’s not enough arable land. Even today it’s an issue and climate change will eliminate at least thirty percent of current arable land and turn it into dustbowls (if mitigation measures are not taken just to stabilize the soil moisture content) and deserts by 2050. Also, the most productive agricultural land is in river delta, which globally are being destroyed by salt water infiltration, which will render the soil too salty for any convention crops, which will also destroy another good percentage of arable land. Finally sea level rise will simply lower total available surface land mass overall, and creeping desertification (as in China’s western provinces and the encroachment of the Gobi desert (their green belt planting has slowed but not stopped the process)) will knock out even more.

          • EngineerGA1

            Joe: yes I do. Black earth in the Amazon is a well documented phenomenon. Unfortunately, even assuming we could scale bio-char production to the extent required without massive GHG emissions and destruction of existing biomass, how to mix it with existing soils – and in what proportion – is a very tricky proposition because it needs adjustment on a per-climate basis. We just don’t have ANY data.

          • But USA industrial-scale organic agriculture does. That’s the rub. You have to change their practices and still maintain economies of scale.

          • Joe Caner

            Your response made me wonder if manure from conventionally raised animals manure could be used to fertilize organic crops. It can. The National Organic Program (NOP) allows this practice with some restrictions. http://articles.extension.org/pages/18628/managing-manure-fertilizers-in-organic-systems
            That’s a bit of a bother. The urine and manure from conventional operations will contain hormones and antibiotics. Cattle feedlot operations feed their cattle high salt diets which ends up in the manure. Conventionally raised chicken manure contains arsenic because it reduces bacterial infection in the birds which improves weight yield.
            Certified Organic is a legal definition, but produce fertilized with these materials would seem to depart for the spirit of what is organic.

          • As you say, “certified organic” is a legal definition. However, the perfect is the enemy of the good. Better to reuse what would otherwise go to waste. Even if it might go against the spirit, there is no such thing as “pure” manure, so I think that it requires SOME sort of threshold standards for levels of harmful compounds. Also, you have to talk about scalability. The number of organic-certified farms isn’t that high, so sourcing enough organic manure (where organic is equated to the legal definition) would be highly difficult. The organic meat industry is having real trouble getting enough organic alfalfa, and that’s only going to get worse.

    • Rebecca Cody

      Throughout my 73 years I’ve observed over and over that major change like the ones needed here come almost entirely from the people. Those who are profiting from any current practice, regardless of how heinous or unsustainable, don’t want to change the status quo unless it is to further enrich them. Most of Congress and those in power at the regulatory agencies such as the FDA, USDA, etc. have been bought and well paid for by these huge, powerful, wealthy businesses. My greatest hope lies with the fact that the internet makes it so much easier to get people behind needed change. It is a huge struggle, but people brought down the Berlin Wall, the Soviet Union, and, in our own country 140 years ago, British rule. And now we have Facebook and Dr Greger! My thanks go to those who are able to speak out and bring more and more people onboard for needed change. Now, I’m going to post this article on Facebook and Google+.

      • Joe Caner

        What a cynical attitude you’ve arrived at Rebecca.
        It sounds as if you’ve been paying attention. (-;

        • Rebecca Cody

          Cynical? No, I think realistic is the word, Joe.

          • Joe Caner

            Rebecca, I was being sarcastic, and I believe that you are being realistic. My apologies if that did not come through.

          • Rebecca Cody

            You’re OK Joe, I got that you were being sarcastic. And so was I, kind of. I love this group because comments come from intelligent people who ARE paying attention. I’m a bit in awe because the education level is high and comments are rarely uninformed or just plain stupid, as I’ve seen on other sites, including other nutrition oriented sites.

          • EngineerGA1

            Yes, I greatly appreciate that people here use science and evidence for rational discussions. Name calling and non-science based arguments tend to be the norm in most other discussions. The question of vaccines comes to mind. Rich, entitled First World people love to argue against one of the single greatest life-saving interventions developed by medicine – while ignoring the fact that they are probably alive and able to live in an urban environment because of evidence-based public-health interventions in the first place.

    • Paul

      That photo up above makes me want to hurl!

  • EngineerGA1

    MCR-1 is already in pigs in China, so that’s the last one gone. They’re already pushing production at several times total global human consumption

    • EngineerGA1

      It’s not like CRE haven’t been around for years, it’s just that after NDM-1 and similar, we really are down to scraping the bottom of the barrel, and with MCR-1 in animals, the bottom of the barrel’s done.

  • Rosa Borisova

    It’s actually quite simple. Wen you think about it the human species can’t chase, catch, dig right thru thick fur, skin, flesh, veins and bonnes (as lions do) using teeth and nails only and then really enjoy bloody, raw dinner …just as is. That is a clue- we are NOT carnivore or omnivore. Unfortunately most of us just as millions of children today are introduced to eat and use animal products when don’t have to but mostly is horrible for their health and the environment.

    When we eat wear and use animal products we support, promote, encourage and allow diseases, deforestation, wild life extinction, hunger, pollution and violence towards billions of farmed animals. Then we spend billions to sadistically torture other animals to find cure for diseases we create by eating animals??? Go figure???

    This lunacy can STOP if only people inform themselves and choose to go back to their true herbivore nature.

    If YOU want to know more and do better watch on YouTube: Best speech ever, Forks over knifes, Cowspiracy, Animals should be off the menu, Meet your meat or/and go to: meat-abolition.org, adapt.com. Please do. Thanks

    • EngineerGA1

      Go read the extensive literature on Paleolithic and Neolithic coprolite studies from the last five years. The historical human diets, while majority plant-based, included significant animal inputs.

      • Tom Goff

        Human evolution extends over a much greater period than just the Neolithic and Paleolithic. And our very ancient ancestors may well have been specialist plant eaters. However, we do have a variety of adaptations to different foodstuffs, both animal and plant.
        http://advances.nutrition.org/content/2/6/486.full

        Nonetheless, a diet that allows a species to survive and extend its range is not necessarily a diet that maximises the healthy longevity of individual members of that species. Evolution just doesn’t work that way. I am therefore not convinced that arguments based on the presumed diets of (most/many?) humans in any one particular period and/or environment will automatically show us what is the optimal diet for most humans today.

        • EngineerGA1

          I don’t have the best answer to that. But the majority of folks around here try to use the historical record as justification for veganism, which ISN’T accurate. There are moral, environmental, health, and so forth justifications aplenty that don’t require that. Basing their arguments on false premises makes them no better than the “Paleo” diet people that ignore coprolite data as well.

          • Tom Goff

            I don’t agree that the majority of people here do that but certainly some people do.
            However, things might appear that way when we critique the paleo diet arguments which are used to try to make a case for diets high in animal foods. I think the majority of people are here because they want to learn what the science shows us about nutrition and heath.

        • toomanycrayons

          “Nonetheless, a diet that allows a species to survive and extend its range is not necessarily a diet that maximises the healthy longevity of individual members of that species. Evolution just doesn’t work that way.”-Tom Goff

          Perhaps, it does:

          “Humans and toothed whales are the only mammals that live past the age of reproductive utility. Orcas can survive post-menopause, supposedly, because they know the environment well enough to teach young whales how to successfully forage when food is scarce. Humans may have gone down the same evolutionary road until late-onset dementia of the Alzheimer’s type arose, which is apparently unique to us.”

          (I believe the inclusion of the Trump photo in connection with late onset dementia is…apt. Has no one listened to the man ramble?)

          http://blogs.plos.org/dnascience/2015/12/10/genes-that-protect-against-dementia-maybe/

          “Evidence that modern humans were more able to hunt across large, open spaces — and used technological innovations such as twine and traps to help them catch faster, smaller prey, including rabbits [not nearby large herbivores] — suggests that they adapted better to this change in surroundings.”

          https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150608102648.htm

          The breakdown of the Neanderthal diet appears to be 80% meat, 20% plants. Their extinction might be related to the pressures on large herbivores, their primary source, caused by climate change. Heavy users of eco-unfriendly factory meat, be advised? It doesn’t matter how good your diet is if you, and it, are not around.

          https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160314091128.htm

          • Tom Goff

            I am not sure that I follow your point.
            Physical or cultural adaptation to the environment, including best utilising food resources, allows a species to survive, reproduce and even expand into new ranges. But short term survival and reproductive success is not the same thing as healthy longevity . For individuals.
            Hunter gatherers and people in subsistence economies usually don’t have the luxury of dietary choice. They have to eat what is available if they wish to survive. The challenge is usually just getting enough calories. People like us in wealthy Westernised societies, on the other hand, can choose what we eat. The evidence shows that a whole food plant based diet is “good” as far as optimising long life and good health is concerned. Heavy use of meat, farmed or wild, does not optimise an individual’s chance of long life and good health
            Your statement “Heavy users of eco-unfriendly factory meat, be advised? It doesn’t matter how good your diet is” implies that such a diet is good. It isn’t. It is certainly is not conducive to healthy longevity.

          • toomanycrayons

            The point is/was, that it appears those things which encourage longevity have in fact been “selected for” (as described in my links) and, with all due respect to the ethical sensitivities here presented, meat has been a large part of it. If, as has been further suggested, factory farms (evil by definition?) will ultimately herald our extinction, the hard fact remains, that the economical nutrition of meat, particularly in vegetatively-challenged environments, has been a success matrix. If you lived in Norway, reindeer, not almonds/avocados, were the 100 mile nutrient source. What the food-moralists here are demanding is, that all those historical nutrient decisions be declared immoral, that shame be apportioned, and that the fantasy of ethical nutritional purity for humans be declared our only sensible goal as a species. It won’t happen. It represents an ontological/religious fantasy, that we can/must rise above biological necessity. Recently, we watched a Coopers’ hawk rip apart a plump Chipmunk in our back yard. She seemed largely unconcerned with the ethics of the event. To imagine that our human situation is any less dire is delusional. On “moral” grounds, nutrition is what it is. Should the current process lead to our extinction, it should be altered to prevent that, for no other reason than we are invested existentially in the outcome. Win, or die. What other metric is there?

          • Tom Goff

            Sorry but this reads like the paleo fantasy in all its glory: historical speculations presented as facts. And the imagined implications of those “facts” presented as further facts. Your links simply don’t show what you state they do. Which is why I could not follow your point.
            Nobody disagrees that eating meat provided a survival advantage in northern Norway. In the Winter. Ten thousand years ago. Eating meat will provide a survival advantage where there would otherwise be insufficient calories, or where it adds to a very limited diet that is otherwise lacking in certain vitamins or minerals.
            All that is essentially irrelevant however. The question is which diet or diets optimise health and longevity for most individuals in modern Western societies? There is no evidence whatsoever that diets heavy in meat do so. In fact, the evidence seems to show that diets high in animal proteins and fats deliver higher mortality whereas vegetarian diets are deliver lower mortality and better health eg
            http://www.bmj.com/content/344/bmj.e4026
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2989112/
            http://jaha.ahajournals.org/content/3/5/e001169.full
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3555979/
            http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1710093
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4073139/

          • toomanycrayons

            “Nonetheless, a diet that allows a species to survive and extend its
            range is not necessarily a diet that maximises the healthy longevity of
            individual members of that species. Evolution just doesn’t work that
            way.”-Tom Goff

            Here we are.

            I’m not sure, on the other hand, that long run evolution selects on the basis of short run, 1st World Problem, ethical/science-based diet fetishism. We’ll never know. That’s…how evolution works.

          • Thea

            Tom Goff: *Really* great reply. Your post beats what I would have come up with. I like how you started by summarizing what you heard from the other poster–then explaining how it is illogical. Finally, backing up your logic with a nice long list (of a fraction of the available) of published studies to back up the actual logic–all without breaking your cool.
            .
            I don’t normally wax poetic about people’s responses, but this was worth pointing out to everyone. While it is sometimes exhausting to engage with ideas that make zero sense, sometimes these types of debates help other readers who are having a hard time seeing clearly through all the noise. My point is: Your efforts are appreciated.

          • toomanycrayons

            “Sorry but this reads like the paleo fantasy in all its glory: historical speculations presented as facts. “-Tom Goff

            On the contrary, the 80/20% meat to plant distribution was determined “[b]ased on the isotope composition in the collagen from the prehistoric humans’ bones.” Hard science, not self-reporting meta data.

            https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160314091128.htm

            Anyway, I’m enjoying chewing my way through your extensive references, stats based largely on self-reporting surveys, so far, it seems. One thing that I’ve noticed is that people over-report their levels of physical activity. It’s been clear for a long time that we can eat pretty much anything we like as long as we work hard and enjoy the digestive efficiency associated with the resulting fitness. Brendan Brazier ( I’ve used some of his products out of interest ) is not typical of the overweight vegetarians/vegans I’ve met. You’ve got to move, too. Morals and ethics have no weight loss benefits, it appears.

          • Tom Goff

            Perhaps I haven’t been clear.
            I do not disagree that Neanderthals may have had a diet that was 80% meat. My point is that simply because some of our ancestors’ diets were meat heavy, it does not follow that such a diet is “healthy”. That is the fantasy (because it is simply a non-sequitur with no evidence to support it) – well, that and the claims that our paleo ancestors did not eat grains or legumes.
            And weight loss is not the same as healthy longevity. You can achieve weight loss on the paleo diet, the Twinkie Diet and the Potato Diet (or the crack cocaine diet for that matter). But none of them are likely to deliver healthy longevity.

          • toomanycrayons

            The problem appears to be that you’re emphasizing what is optimal for the individual whereas my reference more generally concerns the entire species over time.

            “I am therefore not convinced that arguments based on the presumed diets of (most/many?) humans in any one particular period and/or environment will automatically show us what is the optimal diet for most humans today.”

            We can’t determine if extending a largely elitist food preoccupation worldwide will benefit the species if applied beyond its breading window. A walk through most gentrified food outlets does not present one with a preponderance of individuals for whom reproduction is a priority. The demographic economics determine that. On the other hand, the hard science of isotope composition in the collagen from the prehistoric humans’ bones, is instructive. Healthy Boomers with ethical and/or longevity options is one thing. Pumping out the next generations is something else entirely. At the root of much of the debate is the search for a diet which is all about us, individually. All about us, collectively, is written convincingly enough in the collagen of those gone before. Here we are, as I’ve said elsewhere. Dance with the one who brung you?

          • Tom Goff

            I still don’t follow your argument. Observing what some of our ancestors or relatives ate at a certain point in hominim evolutionary history, tells us nothing about what is a healthy diet for individuals now or what will benefit the species’ survival now. It also ignores what our aancestors/relatives ate in both earlier and later points in our evolutionary history.

            Your beliefs/conclusions simply do not follow from your statements about coprolite analysis etc. They are non sequiturs.

            Similarly, I do not understand your musings about ethics and elites.

            Sure, it is ethical nit to kill and eat other sentient creatue if it is not necessary to do so. How on Earth can this be construed as an argument in favour of meat eating?

            Ditto your remarks about elites. Traditionally – and in many places still – it is the poor that eat traditional WFPB diets. It is the elites that eat diets high in animal foods.

          • toomanycrayons

            Perhaps diet explains your difficulties. I don’t recall referencing coprolite analysis, for example. The isotope composition in the collagen from the prehistoric humans’ bones interested me, as an example of hard science which presents in my mind more authoritatively than self-reporting meta data.

            “I am sorry but it all reads like an emotional and pretty illogical attempt to justify meat-heavy diets.”-Tom Goff

            I’m neither emotionally involved in this topic nor illogical by nature. Your use of the word “sorry” puzzles me, in fact. (Spock moment!)

            “Sure, it is ethical [not] to kill and eat other sentient creatures if it is not necessary to do so.”

            I don’t see that logically one can actually defend self-interest as over-riding ethics and still call them ethics. You do, apparently. I’ve asked before just where do the ethics people keep trumpeting about come from? It’s clear that humanity simply makes up the rules it needs. As to musings, just how will vegans cope when Marder succeeds in his case for plant intelligence? Killing to survive is only wrong when it defeats the anticipated survival outcome. That, in fact, is the topic of this thread, not that killing animals is morally wrong, only that filling them with profit-driven drug regimens defeats the original purpose.

          • Rosa Borisova

            Sir…I am someone who “survived” without eating flesh ever since I was 11 years old…. Hunting was never in my nature…nor did anyone I’ve ever known had or have natural instincts to hunt, kill and eat flesh as is.. It’s “normal” to think that your parents know what is best for us but the truth is that they were wrong.

            Hated eating this rubbery, dark, unattractive mass called “meat”…even if was soaked in spices and sauces…at times with the blood…just disgusting, abominating and even scary. I guess for many seem “natural” but not because it is…but because they never actually took the time to think …that doesn’t make any sense.

            Living animals are priceless, precious to me… giving me enormous pleasure, make me happy, are funny, simple, playful, easy to understand and are not fake. They know how to respect you if you respect them. I love them to death. I will never, EVER kill and eat someone else’s body parts …. I’d rather be dead.

            So Sir, not to worry the human species survived on plant based foods before fire was discovered and before the man-made tools were created. We don’t have to kill others in order to live well and be well.

          • toomanycrayons

            Why should the insights and preferences, of an 11 year old girl, dressed up as an ethical life narrative, ever become the driving moral force behind all of human civilisation?

          • Rosa Borisova

            Well …I guess… anyone who uses their own brains, logic, common sense, understand, respect, admire, appreciates their own natural instincts and Nature (I suppose) can “become a driving moral force behind all of human civilization”… why not? It will be great… one doesn’t have to be scientist or professor to share, inspire and encourage others to do what is right, what is best for them and everyone else … that is priceless…. There are already quite few fantastic human beings doing just that…

          • toomanycrayons

            “It will be great… one doesn’t have to be scientist or professor to share, inspire and encourage others to do what is right, what is best for them and everyone else….”-Rosa Borisova

            Donald Trump is making the same point. Others have indicated that the 20th C. featured several people who thought the same, and to whom Trump’s opinions bear unsettling resemblances. Knowing what’s best for animals represents a lower standard than knowing what’s best for people. What thoughts have you given to the positive social implications of meat-eating? Animal sacrifice has played a huge part in ceremonies down through our histories, and still does, whether in fact or metaphor. We feast at funerals. We are, in that way, nourished by death. Animals don’t. Rituals “R” Us. That’s what you have to replace. First, make up a reason. The best one I can come up with is preventing the destruction of the/our environment. Morality? Pretty thin gruel, all things considered.

          • toomanycrayons

            ‘I am not sure that I follow your point.

            […]Your statement “Heavy users of eco-unfriendly factory meat, be advised? It doesn’t matter how good your diet is” implies that such a diet is good. It isn’t. It is certainly not conducive to healthy longevity.’-Tom Goff

            Perhaps, if you avoided mischaracterising statements to suit your own agenda, it might help. Here’s the entire post which clearly is not an “implied” endorsement of a meat-heavy diet, but rather a caution to those favouring such a diet, pointing out the likely attendant possibilities of environmental degradation:

            “The breakdown of the Neanderthal diet appears to be 80% meat, 20% plants. Their extinction might be related to the pressures on large herbivores, their primary source, caused by climate change. Heavy users of eco-unfriendly factory meat, be advised? It doesn’t matter how good your diet is if you, and it, are not around.”-tmc

            “I think that you need to re-read your own posts and examine your responses to posts citing evidence you find unwelcome, and to posts discussing the illogicalities in your arguments.”-Tom Goff

            Indeed.

          • Tom Goff

            Ahem, may I remind you that you wrote “however good your diet” . What else does that possibly mean/imply except that youa re suggesting that it is healthy?

          • toomanycrayons

            If you strip out your own preconceptions it reads that “good” is a sliding scale perception perhaps held by those who eat/do not eat meat, not by me; it represents a continuum where good is simply a cognitive bias. Does the phrase “Heavy users of eco-unfriendly factory meat, be advised?” actually imply the bias you’re suggesting I have? You’ve missed the larger point, again.

          • Tom Goff

            “…it represents a continuum where good is simply a cognitive bias. ”
            Sorry, but like many of your posts, this makes no sense whatsoever to me.

          • toomanycrayons

            I can’t explain that. All the best, tmc.

      • Rosa Borisova

        I don’t have to read” extensive literature” to use my own natural instincts and common sense. Thank you for the advise dhow.

        Never, ever not even once I had the need or desire to kill anyone for food or any other reason. Real carnivores are not afraid of other predators…as I am and anyone else would be. Watch the self- proclaimed “hunters” running like squirrels for their dear lives when are without their precious guns chased by deer or any predator. It’s very amusing….

        I have never met or heard of a human who has the natural abilities and tools to hunt (powerful jaws, claws, night vision, ears, fangs), desire to eat from still living animal’s (human or not) body…. Nor do have the abilities to cut right thru thick fur, skin, fat, veins, flesh and bones with their own teeth, nails to enjoy raw, bloody meals.

        To say that our hunting skills are just as good as any carnivore or omnivore animal are, will be a lie. We’ll die if lost in the woods without food and tools. When the true carnivore/omnivore fight they do it with their teeth and claws. We use fists and nails… wouldn’t help if we have to face a true carnivore or omnivore animal.

        Just because you can use a gun to kill it doesn’t mean that you are a hunter/carnivore/omnivore.

        Our ancestors have cheated nature and themselves by eating decaying corpses … it doesn’t mean that we should repeat their foolish savage ideas too. It doesn’t make any sense to me to eat someone else’s decomposing body parts turning my stomach in to a grave yard. I’d rather eat vegetables, seeds, grains, roots, nuts and fruits…easy to eat, blood- free, murder- free and fat- free. Thanks.

        • EngineerGA1

          That’s a moral argument, not a scientific one. I’m fine with that, but you should premise it that you’re coming at it from the moral viewpoint.

          • Rosa Borisova

            Sir, your comment is not clear, little confusing. But do you really need”scientific argument”(what ever that is) to see that your hunting skills are just as lousy as mine and anyone else’s? How about your taste for blood? How about your ability to fight, defend and protect your territory if you and up in front of hungry lion, hyena, wolf bare handed? I bet you’ll run for your dear life like a rabbit.Or may be sucking directly from the cow’s mammals instead of buying it from abusers…? Do you still need “scientific argument” to see the obvious facts of our true nature?

    • Rhombopterix

      When I finally landed that dream job, after too many years living in shared dorms on cheap food and cheaper wine, I rewarded myself with the best cuts of meat and seafoods, the best drink… I equated success with … excess, heh.

      But isn’t it “natural” for that notion to applied right across the species? First in the west and now right across Asia, people are “finally getting a piece of the pie”. If we want others to change their values…yeah, how about that? Hmmm.

      • Rosa Borisova

        You might think eating decaying flesh is a”reward”… but it doesn’t mean that is Sir. Why not reward your self with the best blood-free most healthy, natural foods nature provided you with? Turning your stomach to a grave yard doesn’t sound very clever to me. Expensive it doesn’t always mean “good” Sir. It’s actually a trap. When it comes to profits no one gives a damn about you but your money. The truth is in the simple things.

        You might “enjoy” animal fat, the sauces and spices added to it but you are giving hard time to your stomach, kidneys and liver. Just because you can afford “best cuts” of someone else’s decaying flesh it doesn’t make it your food nor it means that is good for you. I bet there are hundreds of other great things your wealth can allow you to enjoy. Wealth without health is worthless.

        As far as “people are finally getting a piece of the pie”… monkey see monkey do”. When you want to be something that aren’t your moral compass can easily be blindfolded by greed …..
        The devastating results of that kind of attitude are already floating like a wreckage after a storm. It will get worst…for everyone.

        • EngineerGA1

          Wait. I’m a vegetarian and eat more vegan. You don’t have to convince me of the validity of your points. I agree with you about pricing…certain “organic” foods are a sham. [Dr. Gregor’s latest video implicating copper for Alzheimer’s should demonstrate that Big Organic doesn’t care much about the health of farmworkers since they bioaccumulate copper and have ten times the average person’s blood levels once they’ve been doing it for several years. There are better antifungals than copper-based compounds.

          Folk-based medicines based on fables, like rhino horn curing diseases, are ridiculous. Cultural medical systems like Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine have significant value, as long as they are approached from an evidence-based standpoint. One problem that they do have is contamination…most traditional TCM / Ayurvedic source materials have high heavy metal contamination burdens that can itself poison people. The materials have to be sourced from non-contaminated areas and grown in sustainable manners, which is incredibly difficult to find in-country, and here in the West it’s impossible (unless you’re a TCM practitioner and can import them from known sources).

      • toomanycrayons

        Here’s what appears to be “natural” based on tens of thousands of years of pre-foodie-moralising:

        “1. We Function Best Eating Both Plants and Animals

        Throughout evolution, humans and pre-humans have been eating meat (1, 2).

        Our digestive systems are well equipped to make full use of the fats, proteins and nutrients found in animal foods.

        The truth is that humans are omnivores. We function best eating both animals and plants (3).

        Humans have much shorter digestive systems than herbivores and don’t have the specialized organs to digest cellulose, the main fiber in plants.

        Humans also have canines, with big brains, opposing thumbs and the ability to make tools to hunt. Meat was one of the reasons humans were able to evolve such large, elaborate brains.

        Some of the earliest evidence shows that our pre-human ancestors were eating meat as early as 1.5 million years ago (4).”

        https://authoritynutrition.com/7-evidence-based-health-reasons-to-eat-meat/

        A sharp incisor is a terrible thing to waste. Minds dulled by B12 deficits, not so much. That’s clear enough from the hysterical spam these topics regularly elicit from the veggie moral-vore trolls.

        • Tom Goff

          Seriously, you are quoting “authoritynutrition”? This is a website set up by a personal trainer who appears to believe that he is the world authority on nutrition.
          Simply quoting the opinions of others, that echo you own, is not proof of anything. Your post is unfortunately typcal of the illogical ad unscientific reasoning used by those desperately trying to justify their obviously unhealthy dietary habits.

          • toomanycrayons

            “Simply quoting the opinions of others, that echo you own, is not proof of anything. Your post is unfortunately typcal of the illogical ad unscientific reasoning used by those desperately trying to justify their obviously unhealthy dietary habits.”-Tom Golf

            Who exactly is the “the world authority on nutrition?” The site you dismiss seems to have some back round. Is being a personal trainer an immediate argument against authority? Unfortunately…this topic brings out true believers. Since I don’t automatically hew the ethical foodie line, the usual tactic is to declare me to be someone “desperately trying to justify their obviously unhealthy dietary habits.” You have no idea what my dietary habits are. Start there. Or, start by dismantling this apparently qualified site which seems to fall beneath your standard:

            https://authoritynutrition.com/about/

            I don’t have a PhD in nutrition from the University of Iceland and BSc in biology. Perhaps you do? What do you think of this piece:

            “There is no good evidence that getting too much methionine from muscle meat, or other dietary sources, causes a harmful rise in homocysteine in healthy humans.

            However, this may depend on several factors. For example, some people with a mutation in the MTHFR gene may respond differently.

            Although glycine appears to play an important role in reducing the temporary rise in homocysteine after a high-protein meal, its health relevance remains unclear.

            Several other nutrients are also important for keeping homocysteine levels under control. The most important of these are folate, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, choline and trimethylglycine.

            If you eat lots of methionine-rich food, such as eggs, fish or meat, make sure you’re getting plenty of these nutrients as well.”

            https://authoritynutrition.com/methionine-vs-glycine/

          • Tom Goff

            Gee, a personal trainer establishes a site and calls it authoritynutrition. Don’t you think he is claiming to be a world authority on nutrition? And yes he has recruited a number of recent graduates in various disciplins who share his views. Last time I checked, he was also studying to be a physician. But if you reaally want authoritative informtion on nutrition and health

          • toomanycrayons

            So, the short answer is: you…don’t have a PhD in Nutrition, aren’t studying to be a physician and never acquired a BSc…?

          • Tom Goff

            Gee, if you are so impressed by qualifications, shouldn’t you be falling over yourself to believe the reports of panels of genuine scientists and world class experts who don’t share the bizarre views of these self-proclaimed authorities?
            Their qualifications are so much bigger and shinier – and they actually look at all the evidence.

          • toomanycrayons

            I think your being overly emotional.

          • Tom Goff

            I think that you need to re-read your own posts and examine your responses to posts citing evidence you find unwelcome, and to posts discussing the illogicalities in your arguments.

          • toomanycrayons

            Take your own advice.

      • Rhombopterix

        ~Good and bad, I defined these terms,
        Quite clear, no doubt, somehow.
        Ah, but I was so much older then.
        I’m younger than that now.~

    • EngineerGA1

      As I said, I’m a vegetarian, you don’t have to convince me of your point. That being said, from an evolutionary perspective, protein-rich cooked meats drove our evolution into the human species. Whether it is now appropriate to continue, given that we know better and other plant-based protein sources is another question.

      • Thea

        re: “…protein-rich cooked meats drove our evolution into the human species” That is speculation/opinion. Not fact. There are other scientific theories about human evolution which also have great evidence/support to back them up. But at the moment, we really don’t know either way.

        re: “Whether it is now appropriate to continue…” Agreed that that is another question. In my opinion, it is the only question that matters. And happily, it is the question that we actually know the answer to–whether from a health, ethical or environmental perspective.

        • EngineerGA1

          Thea, you’re right, assuming people stick to evidence-based discussions. You’re willing to consider that vertical farming and hydroponics may be the answer. However, every since the 1700s there has been a certain segment of the population that idealize the rural & pastoral lifestyle. I can almost guarantee none of those folks have ever farmed. It’s a hard existence that requires dawn to dusk work (at best; sometimes it’s far more). And also, there’s this tendency to idolize subsistence farmers and smallholders. Although there farming practices may be sustainable in a strict definition, most are miserable and have a hard time supporting their families and leave those conditions as soon as possible.

          That idealistic and idyllic illusion has to be thoroughly shattered once and for all. The natural world – left to its primeval state – is truly awe-inspiring and necessary to human existence. The hard grind of rural life, however, is not inherently necessary and leads to much human suffering. Moving agriculture off of land solves an enormous amount of social justice and environmental issues in a fell swoop.

      • Rosa Borisova

        Great. Being vegetarian is a good start… not enough dhow to stop animal violence/slavery, diseases, pollution, wild life extinction, hunger and deforestation. There’s nothing “evolutionary” or “appropriate” about repeating our savage ancestors’s bloodthirsty “traditions”. The human body has no need for animal proteins… NONE. Eating plant based foods has everything to do with morals, ethics, respect, protection, preservation, appreciation and admiration of Nature’s reasons for life and it’s rules.

        • Rosa, many of those things don’t directly correlate with animal agriculture, particularly not as Western countries practice it (e.g. CAFOs). Secondly, for most of human history there have been nomadic herding populations, and they constituted a good portion of the total human population on the surface of the earth. There still are quite a few, and you would essentially destroy the livelihood of millions of people following thousands of years of tradition. That is the height of arrogance; native peoples deserve the right to follow their lifestyles, and we still haven’t really begun to redress those issues in the USA. Canada has made some progress in recognizing the First Peoples and their rights, but historically when native populations are forced to stop traditional lifestyles, the results are devastating to those peoples. Native American peoples and the Aborigines in Australia demonstrate such policies fail miserably and trap millions in generations of poverty and despair.

          • Rosa Borisova

            “you would essentially destroy the livelihood of millions of people following thousands of years of tradition. That is the height of arrogance; native peoples deserve the right to follow their lifestyles…native populations are forced to stop traditional lifestyles, the results are devastating to those peoples” – Eric Woods
            You sound cruel and selfish Sir. Repeating the same old vicious barbaric life style and evil traditions is not going to make our environment, our health and us better but will pull and hold us back “in the woods”.
            The so called “traditions” are the biggest EVIL of ALL… it’s difficult to understand how educated, most likely good people still chose to promote the lowest levels of “humanity” ever. How do you justify slavery, torture, use, abuse and murder of innocent sentient beings for no fault or choice of their own… ? People have many alternatives, options and choices …they have none!!!
            Just because someone calls such abominable activities “tradition” Sir it doesn’t mean that it’s a good, necessary, morally, ethical and right thing to do,,,, The Spanish inquisition was also “tradition” long time ago… so was racism, discrimination, child abuse, sexual abuse… in some parts of the wolrd tribes were… CANNIBALS…by “tradition” Sir too….

            What do you thing happened after slavery was abolished? What makes you think that promoting, encouraging and allowing non- human animals to suffer for people’s crippled, perverted greedy needs and egos is a good- right thing to do? I have a good news for you… people aren’t going to stop using, wearing and eating animals over night. Not everyone is and will be well informed to change their old habits in a matter of days. For some may take years others less and there are always few that will die and never get it.
            It doesn’t mean we should do nothing and say noting. Let’s NOT support the horrible choices, mistakes and savage “traditions” of our ancestors.
            Besides no one is forcing native people to stay in the medieval age. There are way much better things for them to do too- for themselves and society than use, abuse, torture, enslave and massacre other species for food and profits.
            We must have compassion, ethics, morals respect for nature and other species that are way more important here on earth than us. People have many alternatives, options and choices, the animals have none. I agree on one thing with you Sir: “THAT IS THE HEIGHT OF ARROGANCE : “THE ANIMALS DESERVE THE RIGHT TO FOLLOW THEIR LIFESTYLES”+ FREEDOM TO DO AND LIVE AS THEY PLEASE..AS THEY SHOULD!!!!!

        • I would also suggest you read up on global soya production. The damage done in Brazil by converting tropical and temperate forests to soya production has been horrific. Also, most soya in the US is highly processed into products resembling meat-based ones. Certain plant protein sources like beans and legumes have far less environmental impacts in production, but have had relatively little uptake in the West compared to soya-based ones.

          Your last point about Nature et al is more philosophical. I will simply say that if you study ecology, keystone predators are essential to making ecosystems function properly. We humans have removed most keystone predators (and, frankly, their prey) and the results have been rather awful. The experience in Yellowstone with the re-introduction of the wolves was telling – the rivers actually changed course when all the bison and herbivores were kept away from them by the wolves. Nature is naturally quite violent, as that process drives evolution.

  • Scott Jacobson

    A vegetarian for 1 1/2 years now, and articles like this only serve to strengthen my resolve – even though my primary reason for being vegetarian is my love for animals.

    • EngineerGA1

      I am personally vegetarian and leaning more vegan as the years go by. But that’s totally personal health, nothing else.

      • Paul

        That is how I started as well. I read Ornish’s book in the 90s and changed to plant based and dropped oil and cheese. My dad had just undergone a CABG and I thought I could motivate him to change to plant based by doing it myself. Unfortunately he succumbed to his entirely preventable diseases. :(

        • EngineerGA1

          That’s Dr. Gregor’s life work about preventable causes of death. How Not to Die is a good book. Summarized as fork, fingers, and feet as he says.

    • Paul

      Right. I started doing plant based in the 90s for health reasons. It evolved into cruelty-free in the years following. Most Marxists take a dim view of veganism (considered lifestyle-ism) and still consider Marxism to be human centric, which I find frustrating and outdated thinking. The animal agriculture industry is one of the largest if not the largest contributor to GHGs on the planet. Like a staggering 51% of emissions? The U.S. is now prosecuting AR activists as “terrorists.” That is how powerful the animal agriculture industry is, how important it is to capital – that they can get laws changed in their favor.

      • EngineerGA1

        If Ag emissions could be cut by 50%, a lot of the other problems go away. That being said, use of violence to intimidate the populace and achieve political ends *is* the strict definition of that word…and animal rights researchers in the 90s and early 2000s had a long history of using violence and intimidation against medical researchers who worked with primates, and drove many out of the field.

        Getting back to the subject, to be more specific – the majority of problems are caused by CAFOs, which are prima facie public health hazards and public nuisances. Cattle that are raised on rangeland (like in the American West) really produce negligible environmental impacts. Large herbivores actually can provide amazing amounts of ecosystem services. For example, there’s good evidence that if we could reintroduce large quantities of large herbivores to the arctic tundra, we could prevent it from becoming a carbon source (see: rewilding and “Pleistocene Park” – one scientist’s quest to bring large herbivores back to the Russian Arctic tundra).

        Let’s leave the Marxism in its box. That’s a whole other discussion.

        • John

          Many people throughout the world are developing permaculture sustainability systems. We have talked about this before, but animals can be on the farm and treated more like pets without being eaten as well. Give them a good natural life, and let them add their part to the local part of the ecosystem. Permaculture has slightly more output than monoculture, but it’s a mixed harvest: not 100 square miles of one product, a healthy natural mix of many different plants and fungi, like , well, nature.

          • EngineerGA1

            Yes, but that requires years of both labor and capital investment to get the right cultivar mix and raise the soil carbon and nutrient levels. You and I know that’s both difficult – and labor intensive. Permaculture is, however, a different topic from discussions about vegan diet. Discussions about the ideal composition of the human diet to extend individual organism health span is a very different one than discussing food supply issues.

          • John

            People should start now in their suburban yards, developing permaculture systems. You don’t have to wait until you’re at the maximum output to start eating quality organic produce. The vast majority of American adults need exercise-gardening is a pleasurable way to do that. If that’s what you mean by labor intensive, I see it as a bonus, not a problem. I agree that CAFO systems that you were talking about are a giant problem. I was offering permaculture as a solution to that problem. I grow many outstanding foods that I can’t get at a store. Permaculture gardening can help with both being able to get the right mix of foods and how to supply them.

          • EngineerGA1

            John, I agree. However, don’t overlook that only relatively well off suburbanites have both the yard and leisure time to do so. The majority of the population lives in urban areas and doesn’t have ground to do gardening. I grow a good many vegetables indoors, but that requires more skill, as well as instrumentation and the right lights and equipment. For people that CAN do so, I agree that permaculture is a good investment for all the reasons you outline and more.

          • John

            Thanks for the positive post, EngineerGA1.
            Most Americans live in suburbs, so it’s not just well off people. Almost everyone living in small towns or the country can garden. Gardening is an extremely inexpensive hobby, and in the long run, it’s cheaper than free. You do make a good point that it’s harder for people in big cities, apartments, or condos. Most cities have community gardens if they’re interested.Most people also have neighbors that would like someone to help them garden and share. Most cities now have fruit tree share programs, where someone can take care of a neighbor’s fruit tree and share in the bounty. I like seeing people come together to try to make solutions for our physical health and the health of the world!
            John

  • Rhombopterix

    Your question, “What other industrial sector could get away with putting people at such risk?” reminds me of the joke about the Paranoiac who actually was under surveillance.

    OK Let us list them:

    Big Pharma
    Big Dairy
    Big Science
    Big Gov (anyone who doesnt recognize this as an industry should take a NoDoz)
    Big USA
    BIG World

    I mean comon, geez, anyway? At some point, a point we are well and truly past, the people need to perceive reality as something a bit more self evident than the 6 o’clock news.

    • Joe Caner

      One nation
      Under surveillance
      With liberty and justice for sale

      • Rhombopterix

        Wow. I remember laughing at a school teacher for promoting responsiblity and good citizenship. Not laughing now. How have we come to this? How do we smash corruption? Transparency, reform, oversight…we can work it out.

    • basehitz

      I would also add Wall Street (virtually in it’s entirely and it’s media shills) and the TBTF banks. Where else could such rampant criminality be done without anyone going to jail? (besides Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, Big . . . . well, you get the idea) Just keep those campaign contributions coming. Our elected “representatives” will sell their soul to keep their position.

      • Rhombopterix

        Just follow the $ and everything becomes clear. Remember recently when the supermarkets started putting “country of origin” labels on the fresh produce? That went away pretty fast didn’t it. No news stories, no discussion…just $

        • peseta11

          There’s also hankypanky in Country of Origin sales. A friend in France told me of a gimmick some Dutch firms worked out: buy older apples in the Netherlands, ship to Morocco, wait, then import them as From Morocco! at inflated prices.

          • Not that hard a problem to solve, if the cost of DNA sequencing can be driven down another order of magnitude. Oxford’s already got a genetic sequencer that’s almost the size of a deck of playing cards that hooks directly to a laptop. Some more magic in minimizing reagents and prep equipment will reduce the whole affair to that size, and then you’ll be able to go from sample to genome in the field. That’s the ultimate way to determine CoO. Creating a database of sample produce from different countries won’t be difficult, and once that’s published as open source there won’t be any way to effectively forge CoO anymore, although if you buy off the government and the requirement goes away, it’s a moot point.

  • Ignatius Turchi

    Perhaps there is some hope, “Compounds restore antibiotics’ efficacy against MRSA. See “Medical News Today” 3/10/2016. These compounds have no antibiotic activity of their own but they inhibit resistance in the bacteria. These in combination with the beta-lactam antibiotics are effective. Just sayin.

    • EngineerGA1

      There are some good things in research, and conventional antibiotics are not the end all and be all. There are a lot of natural compounds that have antibacterial and antiviral properties. More importantly, I think the future is in host immunomodulation and bacterial misdirection, by which I mean compounds that change the host immune response. If a bacteria never gets the things it needs to eat (like iron), it won’t grow (for example, compounds that block iron-scavenging siderophores). If the host’s cells block whatever channel the virus uses to replicate, then it just won’t spread. Resistance is predicated upon the ability to replicate using specific patterns. If the host doesn’t get sick, then the virus won’t spread. Sometimes it might reach homeostasis, like CMV and EBV – they don’t usually exit nerve cell reservoirs unless the host becomes immunocompromised.

      • Ignatius Turchi

        I agree completely. Vitamin D, olive leaf extract among others are antibacterial. AHCC and Thymic protein A boost immunity. These and other natural substances are my first line of defense.

  • payoung NF moderator

    Hi everyone, I’m a new NF moderator and hadn’t yet had an opportunity to introduce myself. I’ve been a Physician Assistant for almost 30 years and currently run a small integrative medicine practice in the Hudson Valley in NY. I became a WFPB eater 15 years ago and it changed my life. I’ve been telling everyone who will listen since. I’m honored and thrilled to be here. I look forward to learning from you all and sharing what I know.

    • EngineerGA1

      Welcome. I’m relatively new to the forums myself, and I hope to learn a lot from your experiences.

      • payoung NF moderator

        Thank You!

  • We need to do more with bacteriophage; there’s a lot of promise.

    • EngineerGA1

      For most bacteria, yes. But antibiotics and phages both have the same problem with any bacteria that has enterotoxins.

    • EngineerGA1

      That being said, yes. They are a very good tool that have been completely neglected by the West, while Russia and eastern Europe have taken them and run with the technology. One of the great injustices in the modern world is that the one place in the world that has THE experts in that, particularly clinical / medical applications, is in Tbilisi, Georgia, in a dilapidated building. If you want to send foreign aid and Bill / Melinda Gates money somewhere, it should go there. A few million would be build a new world hub for anti-bacterial medicine.

  • Tom Goff

    Is there any chance that future articles could include a “sources cited” section?
    The click-through references in the text of the articles don’t seem to cover all the statements made eg “Antiobitics are currently added to about 90% of pigs starter feeds.” Where does that come from?

    • Dr. Jen _NF Volunteer

      Great idea to have a “sources cited” section!

      I also couldn’t find the reference to the “90% of pigs starter feeds”, although it may be from another article Dr. Greger linked to and I just missed it. I’ll look into this and get back to you both with the source for the pig feeds and the possibility of having a references section. Thanks for the suggestion!

    • Joe Caner

      According to the FDA, Animal Agriculture accounts 80% of the antibiotics usage in the USA.
      I would be surprised if CAFO’s weren’t feeding antibiotics to 100% of the animals for the increased weight gain with less feed and to just keep the alive in the appalling condition that they are kept until they can be slaughtered.

      Of course, the good people at the Meat Myth Crushers want you to know that there is no need for your concern. It’s all perfectly safe: http://www.meatmythcrushers.com/myths/myth-eighty-percent-antibiotics-used-in-animals.html

      • EngineerGA1

        The UK never allowed the practice to start with, showing that the agriculture industry knew very early that it was a bad idea.

      • toomanycrayons

        “It’s all perfectly safe.”

        Phew, that’s a relief. On the other hand, there seems to be some confusion between 90% being used in meat production and 80% of animals being treated. An admittedly dated reference from ’99/’00 seems to suggest that 100% of pigs in particular are treated by stage, and ultimately finished with a back round dose. The antibiotics change according to phase, and some are applied for as little as 5 days:

        ‘…during the early weeks of a pig’s life, it is exposed to several stress conditions that render it more susceptible to diseases: castration, weaning, treating for anemia, ear notching, vaccination, climatic stresses, and exposure to internal and external parasites. Research has shown marked responses to antibiotics during these early production stages. By the time the pig reaches 40 to 50 pounds body weight, its own disease protective system — antibody formation — is functioning well, and it has adapted to environmental stresses. This is why a practical feed additive program calls for a reduction in levels as the pig develops or progresses to market weight. Fast-growing, healthy pigs may not benefit from antibiotics or chemotherapeutics during the finishing phase. However, on high health farms, improved average daily gan can be observed when low concentrations of antibiotics are fed to alter the enteric flora and prevent subclinical levels of enteric diseases that reduce nutrient absorption, such as the endemic presence of Lawsonia (ileitis) or Salmonella species.’

        http://extension.missouri.edu/p/G2353#chemo

        [PS] The “pig’s life” stresses described above sound remarkably similar to many on the Nature Shows, all things considered. Who hasn’t marvelled, for example, at the “Natural beauty” of Wildebeests and Zebras being dragged to their grisly deaths by obliging Crocodiles. The Crocs seem less end-product fussy than human consumers. Therein lies the Beauty?

        https://www.123rf.com/stock-photo/african_wildebeest.html?mediapopup=7078468

    • Dr. Jen _NF Volunteer

      Sorry for taking so long to get back to you! This should be the citation you are looking for. I haven’t had a chance to access the journal myself, so let me know if you have any other questions! :)

      Also, the “sources cited” idea is a good one and it’s being considered with the next website revision. So thanks again for the suggestion!

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23726208

      • Tom Goff

        Thank you very much.
        The study itself is behind a paywall and the abstract does not mention the 90% figure. I was wondering if the 90% figure was specific to a particular country or countries.
        However, I don’t eat pork and I am not curious enough to hand over $37 for the full article! So I will just leave it there …..

  • Edward

    As A public servant I get to go to public health meetings that state over half the population is MRSA positive before a health crisis so hospitals are not to blame, isn’t that blaming the victims

    • EngineerGA1

      The hospitals have a large part of the blame. They’re not following proper sanitary procedures and industrial hygiene. Doctors – unless they’re under constant surveillance AND their pay can be cut as discipline – are human, and get lazy about handwashing. That is the ONE single-most effective intervention to prevent iatrogenic pathogen transmission (and it’s free). Medicine doesn’t work like aviation – every pilot has checklists, and they are drilled into them from day one that they do it that way. Checklists are called “paper brains” for a reason. If you do it right, the error rate drops by orders of magnitude. There’s no excuse for sloppy protocol. You know what happens when protocol fails in an Ebola facility? Lots of people die. Those health care workers know damn well what the stakes are, and their error rate is low.

      Further, although MRSA is now endemic, colonization is typically limited to the nose. In immuno-suppressed patients, that’s obviously not the case. MRSA, unlike many pathogens, IS vulnerable to everyday cleaning methods (unless it’s acquired within the hospital, which is a different discussion).

      patients and their families also bear part of the blame. You should only blow your nose into a paper towel that you can’t blow through, throw it away in a designated trash can, and immediately wash your hands and/or use sanitizer afterwards.

      The hospitals are supposed to educate the public and patients’ families, and they do a REALLY lousy job.

      Why do you think that Infectious Disease is considered the shit job? They only get called when there’s an outbreak, they’re chronically underfunded, and they get blamed when there’s an outbreak.

  • easyout

    I’m sorry, but we have stepped on our own feet here by abusing antibiotics. Since the very early 1900’s 10’s of thousands of chemicals have polluted our bodies, and are breaking them down slowly. Ortho surgeries are a luxury and we all know why. Our grandfathers, and their grandfathers didn’t need them. We all toxic, and this chemical planet, which we’re all trying to fix so rapidly now, is the only reason we’re having so many problems. The synergistic combination of all these chemicals are aging the body and causing all our diseases. Antibiotics are just a bandaid, and they’re overuse is the problem. You can’t live without nature being balanced, and most know this now.

    • EngineerGA1

      Good luck with the chemical issue. Europe is starting to make progress with REACH, but that’s offset by the enormous mess that is Asia, which lack even the minimal regulatory controls that exist in the US. Also, we haven’t even begun to assess the chemicals that are allowed for ecosystem disruptive potential, and many human medicines screw up fish when they get out of sewage treatment plants. I regard that as a lost cause. Potentially we can use synthetic biology to create organisms that can digest all of those and render them harmless, but that’s still at least ten years out. Even in the best case, it will proceed slowly. Bioremediation, as it currently exists, is a slow process. Let’s not even get into the politics of deploying pollution-eating bacteria. The only time the public will likely permit it will be in emergencies.

      I think the ultimate solution will be the citizen biologist, by which I mean it will become an act of civil disobediance and protest to create custom microbes that destroy pollutants and release them into the environment.

  • Jerry LA

    Whee. All the more we went to plant foods – well, maybe 3 oz fish a time or two a week. I’m 81, feel fine, exercise, …

    Need meat for protein? Well, gorilla’s are 98% DNA match, strict herbivores, way way stronger than anyone. Need dairy as an adult? Take a look – the dairy regions of the world are exactly the breast and prostate cancer regions. I could go on and on. See “The No Dairy Breast Cancer Prevention Program” by scientist prof. Jane Plant, CBE.

    BTW, carnivores have highly acidic stomachs were most meat digestion takes, short intestines about the same length as they are to get rid of the byproducts before they putrefy. . We have less acidic stomachs, small intestine maybe 22 feet long, large intestine maybe 5 feet long, total 4 or 5 times our height – just right for fermenting plant foods like leaves, veggies, fruits, nuts & seeds (seeds includes legumes and whole grains). Refer to Jane Goodall the scientist.

  • Well I found this to be a very interesting read and food for thought. While the article does stimulate the urge to jump on ones soap box point fingers and argue points, I feel that for me it is better to administer some genuine self control. I do not eat a lot of red meat only for the simple reasoning being price and I absolutely love my seafood being an Aussie and all however I do refrain from eating a lot of that due to heavy metal/mercury content.

    I love a good steak or lamb chop on the barbie but at the end of the day I like to make sure the red meat is well cooked as this minimizes disease effect. I eat is straight away and any unused cooked portion goes straight in the fridge in an airtight container for consumption the next day or the dog which ever comes first.

    I also cook my eggs to hard nowadays and no longer include them raw in shakes or soft poach due to the rise of salmonella poisoning in eggs over recent years and sometimes I will even soak my store bought tomatoes in a solution of vinegar and water due to disease as well.

    I think at the end of the day due to the level of pollution – Land, water and air the thought of being able to return to pure and organic is a bit far fetched in this day and age. Think about the number of nuclear bomb-testing and wars alone and the amount of radiation now in our food and water supply do you think organic is possible.

    In my opinion I think we must choose to do what we feel is right for our own health and well being with a view of consuming smaller portions all round.

    • Thea

      Sandra: re: “In my opinion I think we must choose to do what we feel is right for our own health…” I would expect that what you feel is right for your health would be adjusted as you learn more about the available nutritional science. Humans know a whole lot about the health impacts of eating meat, dairy and eggs–regardless of how you cook them. I invite you to continue investigating the information here on NutritionFacts. One good place to start is with the annual summary videos. There are four of them so far and they can be found at the bottom of the home page. Here is the first one to get you started: (and they just keep getting better!)

      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/uprooting-the-leading-causes-of-death/

      • toomanycrayons

        I took your suggestion to Sandra Lemming and came upon:

        “Volume 2 · August 26th 2008 · Michael Greger, M.D.

        Is One Egg a Day Too Much?
        The Harvard Physicians Health Study suggests that those eating an egg a day live shorter lives.”

        My assumption is that this is the same Michael Greger, M.D., responsible for this super bugs article. The piece is dated 2008. I found a rather lengthy, seemingly thorough analysis dated January, 2013, which offers a different conclusion relative to egg consumption, and includes an appendage disavowing any pro egg industry conspiracy.

        “In summary, results from our meta-analysis do not support that higher
        egg consumption is associated with elevated risk of coronary heart
        disease and stroke. Subgroup analyses suggest a positive association
        between higher egg intake and risk of coronary heart disease in diabetic
        patients, and an inverse association between higher egg consumption and
        incidence of hemorrhagic stroke. Studies with larger sample sizes and
        longer follow-up times are warranted to confirm these subgroup results.”

        http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.e8539

        Is it your site’s position that the authors of the 5 year newer analysis I came across are not to be believed? If so, what might it be about their motivation and conclusions which would differ so dramatically from your own?

        • Thea

          toomanycrayons: Speaking on behalf of myself and not “the site”, the scientific evidence against eggs seems to be very clear. NutritionFacts has some videos which explain the varoius ways in which studies promoting meat, dairy and eggs are faulty. And you can spend a whole lot of time on NutritionFacts learning the various ways in which eggs are bad for our health. It’s a lengthy list.
          .
          The point is: Figuring out the healthfulness of a food is never about one study. (Heck, there are over 100 studies showing that smoking is either neutral or healthy. But there’s about 7,000 studies showing smoking is harmful…) It’s about the balance of evidence. Is there enough evidence about a food or subject to indicate its healthfulness? The answer for eggs is: yes there is plenty of evidence. And the answer is: the evidence shows us that eggs are very unhealthy. There’s no way I could explain it all in a post. But if you are interested in learning about the evidence regarding eggs, I would invite you to start on the following page and also to watch the NutritionFacts summary videos which can be found at the bottom of the home page.

          http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/eggs
          .
          As I said, you can learn about ways in which studies can be made to lie here on NutritionFacts. But for a really fantastic, detailed and systematic scholarly look at the topic, check out the videos on the site Plant Positive.

          • toomanycrayons

            “Speaking on behalf of myself and not “the site”, the scientific evidence against eggs seems to be very clear.”-Thea

            You position is that the study I cited is false, incompetent or simply corrupted by corporate agendas with a “made-to-lie” research bias? It doesn’t seem to be, and is quite open about the small groups of exceptions:

            “Several prospective cohort studies have examined the association between egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. However, the relation between egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease remains controversial. Therefore, we conducted a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies to quantify the association between egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

            […]In summary, results from our meta-analysis do not support that higher egg consumption is associated with elevated risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. Subgroup analyses suggest a positive association between higher egg intake and risk of coronary heart disease in diabetic patients, and an inverse association between higher egg consumption and incidence of hemorrhagic stroke. Studies with larger sample sizes and longer follow-up times are warranted to confirm these subgroup results.”

            http://www.bmj.com/content/346/bmj.e8539

            I don’t find your objections detailed or scholarly, fantastic maybe. Perhaps, if Michael Greger, M.D. hasn’t been too busy being famous since 2008, he has more recent data to support the claim that the 2012 BMJ study clearly refutes, along with something to match their 70 annotated reference might help. “Big Egg” appears to go to a great deal of verifiable effort to make their case. They appear to have even included, among their authorities, Harvard, a place prominent in Greger’s data selection, too:

            1)Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, Hubei Key Laboratory of Food Nutrition and Safety, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 430030 Wuhan, People’s Republic of China

            2)Ministry of Education Key Lab of Environment and Health, School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, People’s Republic of China

            3)Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA

            I have a friend with a PhD in Epidemiology from Harvard. I’ve always had the impression that he’s quite honest, dedicated and reliable. I’ll check with him on Greger. Thanks for responding. Kind regards, tmc.

          • Thea

            toomanycrayons: If your friend would like to educate himself on this particular topic, he would do well to check out the information on this site as well as http://www.PlantPositive.com

          • guest

            The study you linked to only seems to muddy the waters. I view the results as still inconclusive. A few things stand out to me in the “Limitations” section of your BJM study. Maybe you missed this so I’ll quote it here and maybe you can address these concerns.

            LIMITATION OF BJM STUDY
            ———————————–

            “Several limitations of our study should also be acknowledged.

            1)
            Firstly, errors in measurement of egg intake and other
            dietary habits could have attenuated individual study
            results and led to the null association between egg
            consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.”

            2)
            “All the studies in our analysis assessed egg consumption
            using food frequency questionnaires”
            2a)
            “misreporting of intake was still inevitable.68 69 70”

            3)
            “during the long follow-up, participants may have changed
            their diets.”

            4)
            some studies considered the intake of foods in which egg
            was the main ingredient. However, the results suggested
            that the amount of eggs estimated in other foods was
            relatively small and was unlikely to affect the
            aforementioned associations.”

            I can’t see this study as proof to give eggs a green light, not by a long shot after Dr Greger has presented so much on this topic that shows eggs are unhealthy.

            http://nutritionfacts.org/video/who-says-eggs-arent-healthy-or-safe/

            http://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-the-egg-board-designs-misleading-studies/

            http://nutritionfacts.org/video/eggs-and-arterial-function/

            http://nutritionfacts.org/video/debunking-egg-industry-myths/

            http://nutritionfacts.org/video/eggs-and-diabetes/

            http://nutritionfacts.org/video/eggs-choline-and-cancer/

            http://nutritionfacts.org/video/eggs-and-cholesterol-patently-false-and-misleading-claims/

            Some people don’t want to hear bad things about their favorite foods. I’m assuming you love your eggys in the morning and so you are passionate about defending them. I understand that but now you are just ignoring the mountain of evidence against them and also ignoring the limitations of the food questioner study you are banking on being the end all of egg studies. It’s not.

          • toomanycrayons

            “Some people don’t want to hear bad things about their favorite foods. I’m assuming you love your eggys in the morning and so you are passionate about defending them. I understand that but now you are just ignoring the mountain of evidence against them and also ignoring the limitations of the food questioner study you are banking on being the end all of egg studies. It’s not.”-guest

            Right back at you, guest. For what it’s worth, I don’t particularly like eggs, and seldom choose to eat them, but…not for ideological reasons, just taste and texture. This was my original, as yet unanswered, question:

            ‘Your position is that the study I cited is false, incompetent or simply corrupted by corporate agendas with a “made-to-lie” research bias?’

            Are you banking on me not remembering it has yet to be addressed? Greger’s studied are presumably included in the later analysis I cited. That discrepancy is not mitigated by simply repeating Greger’s contention. If you could add the dates to his “video-evidence” it might help. I don’t have the time/inclination to watch personality cult videos.

        • EngineerGA1

          I’m not sure how much to buy that study. One good counter to that is that most observational studies for eggs have come from the last forty-fifty years, where almost all eggs are from factory farms with chickens in battery cages fed an unnatural grain-based diet with antibiotics and other growth-promoters. If you look at a Belgian study from some years ago, the nutritional profiles of wild pheasants and geese eggs are substantially different from factory-farm raised ones.

          http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030504919900108X

          • toomanycrayons

            I don’t see how that changes the BJM conclusion regarding: “Egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.”

            Greger, 2008, says (any) eggs are killing us; BJM, 2012/13, says they aren’t. Thea makes no comparative comment, leading me to believe that the later meta-analysis both includes and replaces the Greger opinion.

    • Tom Goff

      I am an Aussie and I love my vegetarian diet. However, I have to ask: do you realise that BBQing and “well-cooked” meat increase cancer risk?
      http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/cooked-meats-fact-sheet

      Personally, what I feel is right for my health is eating according to the scientific evidence. This shows that a WFPB diet is healthy. I have not seen any evidence that eating lots of meat, eggs, fish, dairy etc promote good health or longevity. A vague feeling (which in all likelihood is only wishful thinking) isn’t and shouldn’t be sufficient to trump actual evidence.

  • BEST ways to stop pollution, deforestation, wild life extinction, world hunger, diseases, antibiotics, hormones and violence towards other species is by going back to our natural herbivore nature. To know more please watch on YouTube: Best speech ever, Forks over knifes, Cowspiracy, Earthlings, Animals should be off the menu or/ and go to meat-abolition.org, adaptt.com.

  • Kathryn Lee

    How about if the government were just to legislate not putting the antibiotics in the food or to only give it to the sick animals. Are ALL the animals sick with MRSA? Can the producers see that more and more people are replacing meat with vegetarian diets, or at least gradually getting off meat?

    I started with “fasting” on Friday type of restriction, gradually giving up beef, then chicken, and now only have wild fish very, very occasionally. I still eat eggs and dairy. Other than than that, we order seeds (which I sprout, grains and nuts. I growing my own food in clean, healthy good-smelling soil. I compost my leaves and vegetable peelings (after making stock) all summer, and then mix it into my raised beds or containers every spring. My vegetables thrive and I give them plenty of natural love and attention, including placing them in the best location to fight off pests, draw the maximum nutrition from the soil, and I place the most often used vegetables and herbs conveniently nearer to the back door. (See permaculture,)

    • EngineerGA1

      Kathryn, when the evidence came out that giving antibiotics to farm animals routinely as growth promoters was NOT a good idea because resistance could emerge – almost sixty years ago – the UK banned. Our agricultural industry lobbied against it, so it never happened.

      I’m glad you have a yard and can grow vegetables and compost your food waste. I hope everyone that reads here who has a yard or land does what you are doing.

    • alphaa10

      The worst part of industrial feed-lot agriculture is growers add antibiotics simply to make the animals become fatter– but without having to feed them more. This strange side-effect of antibiotic use explains how more than 80 percent of US pharmaceutical production (by weight) ends up in the farm feed trough.

  • alphaa10

    For those who have concluded all is lost, colloidal silver in combination with an antibiotic like vancomycin has a demonstrated efficacy (in animal studies) against some of the worst super-pathogens.

    Mercola.com on the superbug problem–
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/06/11/hydrogen-peroxide-wound-cleaning.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art2&utm_campaign=20160611Z1&et_cid=DM107612&et_rid=1525524265

  • cetude

    Think about people cutting up raw meat and their fingers and hands are full of superbugs. They go to the toilet. How many people will not wash their hands before going and transfer all of those superbugs to toilet paper then infected toilet paper goes to urethra. You have untreatable UTIs. CONNECT THE DOTS.