Agriculture

Mike the Mad Biologist

Category archives for Agriculture

In light of the recent E. coli outbreak in Germany that has killed nearly forty people, one would think the U.S. would be strengthening, not weakening microbiological surveillance in agriculture. One would be very, very wrong: At a time of rising concern over pathogens in produce, Congress is moving to eliminate the only national program…

Consider this a post wherein I engage in some speculation, and hope that I’m very, very wrong. You see, the ‘German’ E. coli O104:H4 outbreak (‘HUSEC041′) has taken a confusing turn: The strain of E. coli blamed for 46 deaths in Germany appears to have resurfaced in France, the French Ministry of Health said. The…

Recently, ScienceBlogling Jeff Toney responded to Chief Veterinarian of the National Pork Producers Council Liz Wagstrom’s argument that widespread antibiotic use in agriculture has little effect on the antibiotic resistance problem. He concludes: However, the scientific facts support this idea [of agricultural misuse being a problem] – imagine the effect on our population of literally…

…and I can’t blame them. The recent and ongoing E. coli outbreak which began in Germany was originally claimed to have been traced to Spanish cucumbers. Erm, not so much: German agricultural authorities on Sunday identified locally grown bean sprouts as the likely cause of an E. coli outbreak that has killed 22 people and…

ScienceBlogling Tara Smith has a great summary of the recent paper reporting high frequencies of multi-drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus in uncooked meat products (S. aureus is the “SA” in MRSA–methicillin resistant S. aureus, so I won’t go through the whole paper here (and Maryn McKenna, as usual, had the best early report). But there are…

Urban Vertical Farming: Maybe in Detroit?

We come across this very depressing article about how Detroit is becoming ‘unsettled’, in that it is suffering from a massive population decrease, leading to some unprecedented solutions: But a new momentum has taken hold here that embraces just that: shrinking the city in order to save it. “There’s nothing you can do with a…

I’m conflicted about Nicholas Kristof’s recent op-ed about antibiotic resistant organisms. On the one hand, Kristof is one of the only national columnists to raise this issue at all. On the other hand, I found his most recent column somewhat confusing–and I’m an expert in this area (I also think he’s jumping to unfounded conclusions,…

Too bad. You don’t really get a choice. Is the beef industry trying to turn its customers into vegetarians? From the NY Times: Eight years ago, federal officials were struggling to remove potentially deadly E. coli from hamburgers when an entrepreneurial company from South Dakota came up with a novel idea: injecting beef with ammonia.

For a bunch of guys who are supposed to be politically smart, Obama’s team sure is stupid. You’re probably wondering what the hell the agricultural bill (the bill that gives farmers lots of subsidies) has to do with healthcare. Once upon a time, people always used to joke that Senator Bob Dole could be rolled…

In light of the policy mediocrity that is the Obama administration, it’s refreshing to read that the Obama administration is supporting the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA). Of course, it’s early days yet, so it would be par for the courseis quite possible that Obama’s support for this legislation will crumble.