They made multiple visits last year to the farm, where the sows give birth in tight pens and the piglets are taken to separate pens of 25 each after they are weaned. They found samples of the bla IMP-27 gene in several different samples and in several different species of bacteria, including E. coli and Enterobacteriaceae.So, this is NOT a pasture based operation where the pigs live outside in the sunshine and fresh air, it is NOT an organically based operation since the use routine antibiotics on farm. We can "assume" that they are also not using heritage animals with strong immune systems, since those animals are usually raised within the first two criteria of pasture and organic. It is also a pretty safe assumption that these animals are fed commercial soy based "barely good enough" hog feed instead of fresh fruits and vegetables. Dis any of these issues cause this gene to show up? Its hard to say, BUT we do know that consistent use of antibiotics (as they admit to doing here) causes antibiotic resistance. I strongly suspect that the combination is what creates a sort of "negative synergy" that gives birth to this and lots of other problems.
The point here is, this is a medium sized operation. It is not technically a "factory farm" or CAFO. And still, the lack of adherence to nature gives rise to these very concerning problems. It is the practices of conventional breeds, low quality feed, confined spaces that create the need for consistent antibiotic usage and thereby crate these "superbugs".
How do YOU, the consumer avoid this? As we always say.. KNOW YOUR FARMER! Know how he does things... the key points to look for are:
- Heritage breeds for strong immune systems
- Pasture living for fresh air and sunshine
- No confinement births for a naturally cleaned environment
- Good quality organic feed
- At least some feed that is fresh, not from a bag with minimal nutrition
- Completely free of antibiotics, hormones and vaccinations
These form a "minimal accepted standards" for the resulting meat and meat products.
The source of your family's meat is critical... a pretty label or a good flavor or a cheap price are NOT reasons to buy meat. Doing so puts your family into deep health risks, Buy meats only from farms that you KNOW and TRUST and follow at LEAST the above list of criteria.
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