USDA Knows of Link Between Factory Meat and MRSA

Reader Contribution by Robin Mather
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The 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Shortly after that, the USDA added the disclaimer you see at the top of the report: “This review has not been peer reviewed.”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 Google+.

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