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CBC investigation finds "superbugs" in the supermarket


A team of CBC reporters from the Marketplace program recently visited supermarkets in large cities across Canada, bought 100 samples of chicken and then sent those samples to a lab for analysis. What they found was shocking: Two-thirds of the samples were contaminated with bacteria, and every one of the bacteria strains present in the chicken samples was resistant to at least one type of antibiotic. According to the story (which is worth watching in its entirety), the reporters managed to find chicken samples containing bacteria that were resistant to up to eight different kinds of antibiotics.

Farmers often give chickens - even healthy ones - the same antibiotics we take, and this overuse has contributed to the growth of antibiotic resistant "superbugs." The segment includes an example of how one such superbug plagued a patient for months - and the patient happened to be Gerry Wright, PhD, director of infectious disease research at McMaster University in Canada. Wright characterized the impending public health crisis this way:

It's the bugs against the drugs - and the bugs are winning. . . . It means we go back to what it was like pre-1930, when the largest cause of death was infectious disease caused by mostly by bacteria.

What do you think about the industrial use of antibiotics in meat and poultry, Scope readers? Do you think the practice is likely to contribute to the growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria?

Previously: How antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus aureus develops over time and Slate takes on the battle against bacteria
Via Covering Health
Photo by CDC is a U.S. government work

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