EXPOSING the FDA and the USDA - Broad Casting here the things that they would prefer us NOT to know about our FOOD & DRUGS & Farming.

Monday, December 21, 2009

EU Report: MRSA Widespread on Pig Farms

A ProMED-mail post

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International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Tue 24 Nov 2009
Source: EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) press release [edited]

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published the 1st
EU-wide survey on MRSA (Methicillin-resistant _Staphylococcus
aureus_) in breeding pigs. The results indicate that MRSA, a
bacterium resistant to many antibiotics, is commonly detected in
holdings with breeding pigs in some EU Member States. The survey
provides estimates of its occurrence and makes recommendations for
further monitoring and investigation of the causes and implications
of MRSA findings in pig holdings in the EU.

The survey was carried out in 24 Member States, 17 of which found
some type of MRSA in their holdings with breeding pigs and 7 none at
all. On average, different types of MRSA were found in one out of 4
holdings with breeding pigs across the EU, but the survey also says
that figures vary greatly between Member States. MRSA ST398 was the
most reported type of MRSA among the holdings with breeding pigs in
the EU; some Member States also reported other types, but their
prevalence was much lower.

MRSA is a major concern for public health and its various types are
recognised as an important cause of hospital-acquired (or nosocomial)
infections in humans. The specific type MRSA ST398 has been
identified in some domestic animals and is considered an occupational
health risk for farmers, veterinarians and their families, who may
become exposed to it through direct or indirect contact with these
animals. In an opinion published earlier this year [2009], EFSA's
Biological Hazards (BIOHAZ) Panel assessed the public health
significance of MRSA in animals and food and concluded that the MRSA
ST398 strain is less likely to contribute to the spread of MRSA in
hospitals than other types carried by humans. The Panel also said
that there is currently no evidence that MRSA ST398 can be
transmitted to humans by eating or handling contaminated food.

In the survey published today [24 Nov 2009], EFSA recommends
monitoring of pigs and other food producing animals for MRSA. It also
says further research should be carried out so that the reasons for
differences in the prevalence of MRSA in the various Member States
can be identified and used to propose options on possible control

Note to editors:

The _Staphylococcus aureus_ is a bacterium that can be persistently
or intermittently carried by healthy humans and is a very common
cause of minor skin infections that usually do not require treatment.
In patients in hospitals, _Staphylococcus aureus_ is a common cause
of hospital-acquired infections. Its variant Methicillin-Resistant
_Staphylococcus aureus_ (MRSA) emerged in the 1970s and is now often
found in hospitals in many European Member States. MRSA is resistant
to many commonly used antibiotics. In recent years, clones of MRSA
have evolved outside the hospitals, causing infections among people
who have no connection with hospitals. Most recently MRSA has also
been detected in several farm animal species.

EFSA's Zoonoses Unit monitors and analyses the situation on zoonoses,
zoonotic agents, antimicrobial resistance, microbiological
contaminants and food-borne outbreaks across Europe. The Unit is
supported by a Task Force on Zoonoses Data Collection consisting of a
pan-European network of national representatives of Member States,
other reporting countries, as well as World Health Organisation (WHO)
and World organisation for animal health (OIE). They gather each year
data in their respective countries.

EFSA's BIOHAZ Panel provides scientific advice on biological hazards
in relation to food safety and food-borne diseases. This covers
food-borne zoonoses (animal diseases transmissible to humans),
Transmissible spongiform Encephalopathies (BSE/TSEs), food
microbiology, food hygiene and associated waste management issues.
The Panel's risk assessment work helps to provide a sound foundation
for European policies and legislation and supports risk managers in
taking effective and timely decisions.

Communicated by:
Sabine Zentis
Castleview Pedigree English Longhorns
Gut Laach 52385 Nideggen, Germany

Date: Tue 24 Nov 2009
Source: Federal (German) Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR): Press
release 31/2009 [edited]

Methicillin-resistant _Staphylococcus aureus_ (MRSA) are widespread
in pig breeding stocks in Germany. The results of a nationwide study
by BfR confirm the findings of earlier studies in Germany and other
EU Member States. They are part of a study conducted last year [2008]
in pig breeding stocks in the European Union. The results of the EU
study were published today [24 Nov 2009] by the European Food Safety
Authority (EFSA) [see item 1 above]. The BfR findings for Germany
show: MRSA was detected in the shed dust of 84 out of the 201 pig
breeding stocks examined (41.8 percent). People who come into contact
with pigs through their work are frequently carriers of this germ.
"Based on all the information available to us, the risk of infection
from pork-containing food is very low," says BfR President Professor
Dr. Andreas Hensel. In any case, meat should always be prepared with
careful attention to kitchen hygiene and only eaten after having been
thoroughly cooked through. This i!
nactivates any potential pathogens.

Methicillin-resistant _Staphylococcus aureus_ are widespread
pathogens. People mainly become infected with this germ in hospital.
As these pathogens are resistant to numerous antibiotics, infections
are very difficult to treat. Certain types of this bug may also lead
to infections outside hospitals.

Almost all the germs detected in 2008 in pig breeding stocks belong
to the ST398 type, which is common in livestock. Up to now, it has
only been detected very rarely in infected individuals in hospitals.
However, it is also found in individuals who have professional
dealings with livestock. This group includes farmers, vets and
slaughterhouse staff. Although this type of MRSA has only rarely led
to cases of disease in humans and animals up to now, the Hospital
Hygiene Committee of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recommends
testing individuals from these groups for the pathogen when they are
admitted to hospital. This would avoid the spread of the pathogen to
wounds in the case of surgery and throughout the hospital and via
this path to other patients.

Although this bug can also be detected in the meat from livestock,
the risk of contracting it from food is currently deemed to be low.
BfR and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) came to the same
conclusion in their risk assessments.

When compared with other European countries, the proportion of
MRSA-positive pig breeding stocks is relatively high in Germany.
Nonetheless, MRSA was detected in pig breeding stocks in most western
European countries that engage in intensive pig production. Future
studies must clarify the contributory factors to this situation. On
average across the 26 Member States which participated in the study,
22.4 percent of the herds stocks tested positive for MRSA. This is
revealed by the report on the EU-wide study published by EFSA today
[24 Nov 2009].

Communicated by:
Sabine Zentis
Castleview Pedigree English Longhorns
Gut Laach 52385 Nideggen, Germany

[BfR was established in Germany on 1 Nov 2002 to strengthen consumer
health protection, whose credibility had suffered as a consequence of
the BSE crisis. This explains why the legislator wrote into the Act
establishing BfR that it enjoys independence in its scientific
assessments. The main task of BfR is to voice an opinion on the
potential risks from food, consumer products and chemicals, and to
offer scientific advice to the federal ministries for their policy
decisions. Given the Institute's remit, the main ministries involved

1. The Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection
(BMELV) (food and product safety)

2. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and
Nuclear Safety (BMU) (chemicals safety and contaminants in food)

3. The Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs
(BMVBS) (transport of dangerous goods, ballast water agreement)

BfR cooperates with a number of national and international,
governmental and non-governmental agencies (FAO, WHO, OECD, etc.). It
is the national Focal Point of the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA)
and a partner of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

BfR sees itself as the advocate of consumer health protection in a
context in which many stakeholders make their voices heard. Based on
its risk assessments, it seeks to strengthen consumer health
protection. To this end, the Institute offers policy advice,
participates in national and international agencies and disseminates
consumer information. One important component in its risk assessment
activities is risk communication and the various forms it can take.
BfR wishes to build on these by means of various projects and events.

The focus of its health assessments is on people as consumers.
Whenever control authorities detect microbial contamination or high
levels of harmful toxicological ingredients, heavy metals or
pesticides in foods, consumer products or cosmetics, BfR's scientific
assessment expertise is in demand. In their health assessments, the
Institute's scientists assume the important task of establishing how
germs or substances reach a food or product, whether they constitute
a risk to humans and what action should then be taken. They adopt a
science-based research approach and draw on exposure assessment and
toxicological methods. - Mod.AS]

[see also:
Staph. aureus (MRSA), human, animals - Europe: evaluation 20090618.2255
Staph. aureus (MRSA), human, zoo elephant - USA (02): (CA) 2008 add
Staph. aureus (MRSA), human, zoo elephant - USA: (CA) 2008 20090307.0951
Staph. aureus (MRSA), human, swine - USA: (IA, IL) 20090126.0348
Staph. aureus (MRSA), human, livestock - UK: (Scotland) 20080605.1799
Staph. aureus (MRSA), nosocomial - UK (England) 20080427.1455
Staph. aureus (MRSA), comm. acq., MSM - USA: (MA, CA) 20080119.0232
Staph. aureus (MRSA), human, porcine - Canada, USA 20071109.3640
Staph. aureus (MRSA), comm. acq., human, equine - Canada 20070108.0076]

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Fri Nov 27, 2009 11:19 am

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EU Study Shows MRSA Wide-Spread at Pig Farms
STAPHYLOCOCCUS AUREUS (MRSA), PORCINE - EUROPE: SURVEY *********************************************** A ProMED-mail

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fw: A Win-Lose Proposition for Farmers and Consumers Animal Rights Blog


A Win-Lose Proposition for Farmers and Consumers

By admin | December 6, 2009

Submitted by Animal Person

From the website of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture:

Washington, DC - The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) this week released a proposal to address the critical economic situation of American dairy, pork, and poultry producers, while simultaneously providing much-needed nutritional assistance to Americans facing hunger due to job loss and other economic hardships.

People whose careers involve creating, fattening, transporting and slaughtering sentient nonhumans whose parts and secretions will then be used as food are having some financial difficulties.

Along with the rest of the country.

To "help these industries survive this economic downturn and gain a solid footing for the future,"  NASDA is proposing a "bold solution: a plan to take extra inventories off the market to reduce supply, all while providing vital nutritious, protein-rich foods to those who are unable to afford them, which is in more demand now than ever before."

Translation? First let's deconstruct:

  • The recession has caused a decrease in demand for animal products. I say stop right there, as Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman and Jonathan Safron Foer could be behind the decrease. We don't really know. We do know that a feature of a recession is that all sectors are affected in the same direction, and I don't see anyone proposing a bold solution for writers or editors.
  • What if consumers have genuinely been paying attention and have realized that animal products aren't that healthy, are an environmental disaster (the way most are produced) and not sustainable and are a blatant, direct signs of the largest and longest injustice in human history? What if Meatless Mondays and all of the messages about decreasing consumption of animal products have made a difference and consumers have spoken? What if this has nothing to do with the recession or less than one might think (nothing's a tough sell)? Why the rescue plan? The market has spoken; this is supposed to be capitalism, not corporate socialism.

But all of that aside, the bold solution is: Americans who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would be the targeted consumers of the surplus (in addition to military food assistance programs in places like Afghanistan).

"By removing these excess products off the market, and placing them into food assistance programs, we will quickly stabilize the prices for these products, allowing the producers to break-even, or perhaps even make a profit on their farms.  Simultaneously, our fellow citizens struggling to put food on their table will find themselves with more opportunities for healthy, protein-rich meals."

So people with lower incomes, who already have higher incidences of obesity and diabetes and already don't eat as well as people with higher incomes, will be the intended consumers of exactly the type of foods they don't need to be eating. And that's being done as a favor of sorts, a gift to them by the benevolent NASDA.

Perhaps just as ironic is the mission of the NASDA, which includes "protection of animal and plant health, stewardship of our environment, and promoting the vitality of our rural communities."


More Serious Adverse Reactions to H1N1 Vaccine

Jordan McFarland, a 14-year-old boy from Virginia, is weak and struggling to walk after coming down with a reported case of Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) within hours after receiving the H1N1 vaccine for swine flu.
McFarland left Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children in a wheelchair nearly a week after developing severe headaches, muscle spasms and weakness in his legs following a swine flu shot.
Jordan is among the first people in the U.S. to report developing the potentially life-threatening muscle disorder after receiving the H1N1 vaccine this fall. Increased cases of GBS were found in patients who received a 1976 swine flu vaccine.
Likewise, a young woman in France has also been diagnosed with GBS after a swine flu shot. The woman, identified only as a health worker, was diagnosed with GBS six days after she received the swine flu shot, according to the French health ministry
Swedish, Japanese, and Chinese health officials have also reported a number of serious side effects, including deaths of people who received the H1N1 vaccine. In China, the Ministry of Health announced that the two people, including one teacher from Hunan province, died hours after receiving their inoculations.
Chinese health officials have pulled all vaccines manufactured in the same batch used to inoculate the teacher.
Fifty-four percent of Chinese residents reported in a China Daily survey that they would not get the H1N1 vaccine because of concerns about the shot's safety. Among those inoculated so far in China, more than 1,200 have complained of side effects ranging from sore arms, rashes, and headaches, to anaphylactic shock and sudden drops in blood pressure.

MSNBC November 12, 2009
InfoWars.com November 13, 2009
Time November 15, 2009
ABC News November 17, 2009
The Japan Times October 25, 2009
The Digital Journal October 28, 2009
NBC Washington News November 26, 2009

Click on title above to go to original article and see comment by Dr. Mercola

Sunday, December 6, 2009

1,000+ Adverse Reactions to H1N1 Vaccine

From JudicialWatch.Org;

Over 1000 Adverse Reactions to H1N1 Vaccine Since October

Last Updated: Tue, 11/24/2009 - 4:31pm

In recent months, H1N1, or swine flu, has been spreading allover the globe, raising concern and alarm. First detected in March 2009, H1N1 is already responsible for over 1,000 deaths in the U.S. alone. Worldwide, H1N1 flu has become a globalproblem, as an outbreak map created by the New England Journal of Medicine shows. While most common in the U.S. and Europe, H1N1 is also affecting much of Asia and parts of Africa. One of the biggest problems concerning H1N1 has been the lack of vaccines. Although the U.S. originally estimated that approximately 120 million doses of the vaccine would be available by mid-October, in the beginning of November only 11 million had been produced. But while the vaccine may help protect against swine flu, reports from the Centers for Disease Control suggest that the vaccine has problems of its own.

Since the vaccine began being administered in early October, there have been almost two thousand adverse events reported to the Centers for Disease Control vaccine reporting system, VAERS. Judicial Watch used the Freedom of Information Act to request copies of the VAERS. From October 1 – November 4th, there were 1,112 adverse reactions reported. The most common side effects were generally not serious and included fever (present in 240 cases) and nausea (present in 112 cases). However, there were also cases of serious and life threatening reactions. In total, 38 cases were classified as serious, and twelve were considered life threatening. There were also six people who died after receiving the vaccine, although at this time it is unknown whether the vaccine caused the deaths.

Many of the adverse reactions affected young children,including an eight year old who suffered “chills, increased [heart rate],lethargy and altered mental status…cough, nasal congestion, fever, diarrhea, sore throat, disoriented and lethargic” (ID: 362672). His condition was considered serious and he was hospitalized. Another child was hospitalized when he experienced seizures and convulsions immediately after receiving the vaccine (ID: 362926). Less than one day after vaccination, a 5 year old boy visited the ER with an aggravated “croup sounding cough.” He “could not breathe…even tried crying – he was not able to get air in his lungs…started turning blue/gray" (ID: 361270). Another five year old developed “life threatening” symptoms within one day of receiving the vaccine, including a cough, hoarseness, and a high fever (ID: 362913).

A one and a half year old baby with no pre-existing conditions was hospitalized three days after receiving the vaccine with a long list of symptoms including: “Cough, Crying, Diarrhea, Dyskinesia, Irritability, Malaise, Movement disorder, Muscle spasms, Muscle twitching, Pyrexia, Pyuria, Respiratory tract congestion, Rhinorrhoea, Screaming" (ID: 362196). Similarly, another one-year-old infant wasadmitted to the hospital three days after receiving the vaccine. He had a high fever and began sufferingseizures. His status was classified as life threatening, and he spent 10 days in the hospital (ID: 364197).

The vaccine may also be harmful during pregnancy. In one VAERS report, a woman who was eight months pregnant with healthy prenatal exams received the vaccine. Four days later, she complained of nausea and feeling warm. At the hospital, it was discovered that the baby had died. While the cause of death was unknown, the ultrasound revealed that there was “no amniotic fluid around the baby” (ID: 36299).

There was no overall similarity in serious cases, but the more common side effects included severe shortness of breathe and seizures. A 55 year-old man suffered a life threatening reaction “immediately after H1N1 vaccine…[patient] reported not feeling well, could not breathe, obvious respiratory distress, weakness, and cyanosis, elevated heart rate” (ID: 362087). Another man “developed headache that progressively got worse with facial pain” one day after receiving the H1N1 vaccine. After being admitted into the hospital, he had a seizure (ID: 363685). In an extremely serious case, A 35 year old patient with no previous medical conditions died three days after receiving the H1N1 vaccine, after being sent to the ER for “nausea, vomiting, chills, stomach cramping, diarrhea, tachypnea,hypotension, and diaphoresis.” The cause of death was “due to septic shock” and asplenia, a condition that occurs when the spleen is not functioning properly (ID: 362855).

VAERS reports also suggest that in some cases, the vaccine could be causing H1N1 flu. One woman was given the H1N1 vaccine and less than three days later she was sent to the emergency room and hospitalized, “presumed H1N1 positive, from the H1N1 vaccine.” Her condition was classified as life threatening (ID: 36285). A man who had received the vaccine went to a clinic and was diagnosed as having “more than likely – H1N1 as a result of the live virus vaccine” (ID: 361344). Another woman was hospitalized two days after vaccination, with “H1N1 suspected.”

The Department of Health and Human Services continues to monitor the vaccine but has concluded that the H1N1 vaccine is safe. Others, however, have raised questions. Barbara Loe Fischer of the National Vaccine Information Center questioned both the necessity of the vaccine and the seriousness of H1N1 itself. Fisher stated that the vaccine was overhyped, and that there was “an unprecedented campaign by the federal health officials for us to take this very seriously when the evidence is that this is not anymore serious than the season influenza.” Most people conclude that the H1N1 vaccine has the same safety rate as regular flu vaccines. Still, caution is necessary, especially in light of the reactions to the vaccine. In order to aid the public in their decisions regarding the vaccine, Judicial Watch has included all VAERS reports from October through November 7, 2009 below, and will be requesting updated reports as necessary.