USDA Knows of Link Between Factory Meat and MRSA

| 8/2/2011 4:59:00 PM

Factory MeatThe U.S. Department of Agriculture really, really doesn’t want us to read this report, which proves the connection between factory meat and MRSA, the antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria that now kills more people each year than AIDS.

It was written by a USDA-contracted researcher, and was meant to function as a “technical review” — a summary of findings on the link between industrial meat animals and MRSA.

Soon after the USDA posted this review back in June on its National Agricultural Library website, a USDA official said the review was based on “reputed, scientific, peer-reviewed and scholarly journals.”

Shortly after that, the USDA added the disclaimer you see at the top of the report: “This review has not been peer reviewed.” And then, last Friday, the original document completely vanished from the USDA’s website. What that disclaimer means to us is that the USDA caved to the displeasure of the industrial meat lobby. When you can’t disprove the facts, silence the messenger.

Read the full report here. Then join us in a tip of the hat to Mother Jones blogger Tom Philpott, whose excellent summary of the timeline — and the reasons for it — appears here.

Robin Mather is a senior associate editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS and the author of The Feast Nearby, a collection of essays and recipes from her year of eating locally on $40 a week. In her spare time, she is a hand-spinner, knitter, weaver, homebrewer, cheese maker and avid cook who cures her own bacon. Find her on Twitter, Facebook or .

Jan Steinman
8/15/2011 10:31:01 PM

Thanks for preserving this information. Unlike T. Brandt, I think such information should be available for people to read and form their own opinions, rather than let the USDA or FDA decide what information we get to see. I've saved a copy at the InfoArk:

8/15/2011 1:50:56 PM

How could you confuse the issues to try and defend the USDA's action. There is no mention of AIDS in the USDA publication only the MEN article pointing to it, so that is not why the governmental agency pulled it. And even in your response you cite statistics using deaths from two countries for MRSA but then give world-wide AIDS figures that are exaggerated at best. You should be even more ashamed.

t brandt
8/5/2011 5:12:37 PM

The website took it down because it was full of lies and lousy science. In the US, about 99,000 death certificates mention MRSA yearly (in GB it's only about 1200, with 32 million AIDS deaths worldwide), but there's a difference between cause of death, mechanism of death and factors complicating death. Eg: cancer is a cause of death, but the mechanism of death in a cancer victim is usually infection that can't be fought off due to an immune system impaired by malnutrition or chemotherapy. MRSA infection is just a routine Staph infection caused by a strain that is resistant to several antibiotics. Healthy people don't usually need an antibiotic to fight off Staph infections. Only people with reduced "resisitance" need the help of an antibiotic and that often doesn't work anyways when they have a severe underlying condition. This sort of unscientific, ignorant journalism belongs in the National Inquirer, not MEN. Shame on you.

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