New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof Sunday published a second column on the presence of MRSA (the drug-resistant staph infection) in pork. He quotes a study conducted last year that found MRSA in five out of 90 samples of pork sold in retail outlets in Louisiana. Kristof notes that the widespread use of antibiotics in hog farms is helping to create more drug-resistant strains of pathogens.
In a column last week, Kristof told the story of Tom Anderson, a rural Indiana doctor who kept finding cases of MRSA among his patients in and around Camden. The doctor finally grew convinced the disease was being incubated at the large hog farms that circled the town (above). Anderson died last year. He was only 54. The question Kristof asks is whether “we as a nation have have moved to a model of agriculture that produces cheap bacon but risks the health of all of us. And the evidence, while far from conclusive, is growing that the answer is yes.”
Meanwhile, the Obama administration is promising to bolster the nation’s practically non-existant food inspection system. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration inspected 7,000 out of 150,000 domestic food facilities; 35 years ago, the agency got to half the facilities every year. President Obama called this level of inspection “unacceptable.”