Saturday, December 21, 2013

Oops! They did it Again

Consumer Reports has again found that almost all raw US chicken is contaminated with 1 or more deadly bacteria (ie. enterococcus, E. coli, campylobacter, klebsiella pneumonia, salmonella, and staphylococcus aureus).  These 316 samples of chicken breasts were taken from retail stores all across USA in July 2013.

Consumer Reports tested for enterococcus (79.8 % of samples were contaminated), E. coli (65.2% contaminated), campylobacter (43% contaminated), klebsiella pneumonia (13.6% contaminated), salmonella (10.8% contaminated) and staphylococcus aureus (9.2% contaminated).

They have also found that 49.7% of samples had bacteria that were resistant to 3 or more antibiotics; in other words, the chicken was contaminated with superbugs.  If you accidentally contaminated yourself or a member of your family with the superbugs on the chicken, the medical system would have great difficulty curing you of the infection, as most available antibiotcs would be helpless against the superbugs.

Please note that Agriculture & Agri-Foods Canada reports that for 2012, 88.6% of the chicken meat imports into Canada, and 99.79% of the mature chicken (spent fowl) imports into Canada, came from USA.  CFC's Chicken Data Booklet 2013 shows that those USA chicken imports (ie. a total of 218,677,453 kg., or 0.22 Million metric tonnes of chicken), represent 21.43% by weight of the chicken consumed in Canada.

No matter how much the #ChickenMafia puff themselves up, or hold their noses high in the air, don't think that Canadian chicken is pure and safe.  CFIA, University of Guelph, and OMAF have consistently found that 30% to 80% of Canadian chicken is contaminated with lethal bacteria, including superbugs ( for example, see Blog Posting Contaminated Chicken and here.

The FDA has posted draft regulations to force their chicken industry to slowly taper off on the antibiotics being fed chicken, supposedly to get rid of the superbugs.  In vitro mouse tests showed that salmonella had a doubling time that ranged from 20 minutes to more than 1 hour, depending on the mouse's immune system (presence or absence of macrophages).  The geometric median between 20 min and 1 hr is 34.64 minutes.  A three year tapering period proposed by the FDA is 1.5768 million minutes, or 45,519 doublings.  Assuming we started with just 1 superbug, in that 3 year period with 45,519 doublings, we would produce a number far bigger than what any spreadsheet or calculator can compute.  This number is bigger than all the nucleons in the entire visible universe (estimated to be 1080 nucleons, see Harrison, Edward Robert, Cosmology: The Science of the Universe Cambridge University Press, 2000, pp. 481, 482).
"The mathematics of uncontrolled growth are frightening. A single cell of the bacterium E. coli would, under ideal circumstances, divide every twenty minutes. That is not particularly disturbing until you think about it, but the fact is that bacteria multiply geometrically: one becomes two, two become four, four become eight, and so on. In this way it can be shown that in a single day, one cell of E. coli could produce a super-colony equal in size and weight to the entire planet Earth."
Michael Crichton (1969) The Andromeda Strain, Dell, N.Y. p247

Note that an E.coli bacteria weighs approximately 10-15 kg., while Earth weighs 5.9763 x 1024 kg., so I calculate it to take 132.13 doublings of 20 minutes each for one E.coli bacteria to grow into an Earth-sized super-colony, which is 1.83 days; slightly different from Crichton's calculation.

So how do you feel about the FDA letting this issue go on for another 3 years?

Of course, Health Canada has no plans whatsoever as of now.  Why panic?

So what do the experts suggest to protect yourself from biohazardous chicken?  Use a cutting board that is only used for poultry, prepare the chicken without washing the chicken (ie. washing spreads the contamination all over the kitchen), and as soon as you're done, put the cutting board into the dishwasher.

I go into a hospital to visit, or for emergency medical care about 1 or 2 times per year.  Every week, my wife or I enter a grocery store where bio-hazardous chicken is handled, stored, and sold.  Both the grocery store and the hospital are known reservoirs for superbugs.  Which represents the greatest superbug infection potential for my family, the grocery store, or the hospital?

Obviously, the grocery store is a far greater risk, both in probability and lack of detectability (ie. the grocery store risk is poo-poohed, covered up, and hushed up by everybody, including the government).

Today, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Canada's prostitution laws are non-constitutional because they put sex trade workers at significant risk.  The #ChickenMafia puts most Canadians at significant risk too from their biohazardous chicken.  Why is biohazardous chicken permitted and enforced by government regulations?

Why isn't biohazardous chicken from the #ChickenMafia also declared non-constitutional?

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