Supergerms, it's what's for dinner!

Safeway sold ground beef containing multi-drug resistant Salmonella bacteria. The beef was sold in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and New Mexico between September 19 and November 5, 2007.

But don't worry, folks! Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) believes no one should be concerned since the beef is no longer be sold. I mean I'm glad they aren't selling ground beef dated September 2007, but isn't that sort of missing the point? (Rhetorical question, people).

What these reports miss is the fundamental problem: the confinement of thousands of animals in small quarters. Cattle raised for consumption spend most of their days on feedlots, where up to 150,000 animals are contained. Animals can barely turn around, let alone lie down and stand up comfortably. There are no green pastures and animals are fed a high-energy diet that causes gut and leg problems.

The reality is that animals confined in such tight quarters get sick easily and spread disease quickly. So instead of decreasing the number of animals housed (how would people get cheap beef?!?) or expanding enclosures (how would farmers make more money?!?), producers feed antibiotics subtherapeutically.* Cattle no longer spread disease to one another, they spread antibiotic-resistant supergerms. And then people eat it. Yum, supergerms, it's what's for dinner!

You can avoid all this supergerm craziness by not eating animal flesh. Pigs, chickens and cattle are all fed subtherapeutic antibiotics on factory farms. Why contribute to an industry that makes moot life-saving antibiotics?

*Fed at a level that does not treat disease but "theoretically" prevents disease.