Instant holiday diet plan

Reduce your consumption of turkey this Thanksgiving by simply reading Maryn McKenna's report on drug-resistant staph bacteria infecting the U.S. meat supply.


  1. Whew — looks like I made the right decision this year to cook our birds using heat, instead of the family’s traditional method of using antobiotics.

  2. I try not to let uncooked meat ever touch my skin, and I don’t handle livestock either (well, except my cat, but she’s as sheltered as I am).

    Staph doesn’t particularly like being cooked, and I don’t particularly like my meat raw except tuna and salmon, which are not impacted by this.

    Seriously. This is why we invented cooking: it kills dangerous bacteria.

    1. That said, I’m not saying this isn’t of concern: farm workers are clearly at risk, for example, and it’s also more evidence of how much tetracycline is in the food chain.

      But seriously. Fire Good. Cook Meat. Grunt.

  3. Also remember to cook anything that meat touches before it’s fully cooked.  And anything that that stuff touches. 

  4. You clearly haven’t seen the hazmat-like procedures I have with regards to raw meat. Everyone’s just lucky I don’t spray the meat itself in Tilex.

  5. I just like that Jerril considers living with a cat to be less dangerous than handling any other animals (it’s not).
    Maintaining (and having contact with) livestock is not dangerous.  Their meat is not dangerous.  Treating confined & suffering livestock with any number of chemicals and moving their terrible corpses through the food system is very very dangerous.
    It kind of grosses me out, so I never tried it, but the butcher I worked for would sample the ground beef at grinding.  That’s right, raw ground beef.  However, his animals were never medicated and never fed anything but grass & hay.  His ground beef was simply beef & a bit of fat.  No bones, spinal tissue, brains, etc. in his ground beef, just the trim and the least useful cuts.  No Staph, eColi, not even upset stomach, and these guys have been raising beef for decades.
    All I’m trying to say is this:  Don’t blame the animals, and please please please learn more about where your food comes from (if you don’t have time & space to raise it yourself).  Don’t trust the propaganda on the producer’s website (they hire somebody to write that, somebody who studied marketing in college, somebody who knows all the buzz words but nothing about “dirty farm animals”), and don’t say “I don’t have time.”  You’ll have plenty of time when you’re suffering in hospital from improperly grown meat. 

  6. May I shill for Heritage Foods here? They’re an internet enabled business that coordinates the sale of heritage breed meats and poultry. They’re expensive, but it’s hard to find a Narragansett Bronze or Bourbon Red turkey anywhere else for Thanksgiving. Most farmers don’t want to deal with slow growing, old fashioned breeds, but those that do tend to provide the animals better living conditions and lower stress.

    We’ve given up on any other turkeys. These actually have flavorsome white meat, which is usually inedible, even in organic birds.

    We are talking with local farmers who are interested in raising old fashioned animal breeds. Currently, we can get local beef, pork, lamb and sometimes chickens, but it may be a while before someone takes a flier on a turkey flock. We’ve been spreading the word at the farmers’ market, but for now, we’ll deal with Heritage Foods. (We’re just satisfied customers, but feel free to delete this if it is too spammy.)

    Most bacteria in meat is concentrated on the surfaces, but when the animal is butchered, it can get spread out and infect other areas. Yes, cooking is a good defense, but large scale meat processing can spread problem bacteria quickly and widely. There are antibiotic resistant bacteria everywhere, but modern farm antibiotic use can concentrate and disperse it more effectively than other means. That’s why it makes sense to look for alternative meat suppliers and encourage them.

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