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McDonald's meat from antibiotics-injected livestock is now the primary source of antibiotics for U.S. children, particularly for uninsured youths from low-income households.
April 26, 2002 12:44 PM   Subscribe

McDonald's meat from antibiotics-injected livestock is now the primary source of antibiotics for U.S. children, particularly for uninsured youths from low-income households. "Unfortunately, some children still fall through the cracks in our health-care system, but luckily, McDonald's is there to lend a helping hand," Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson said at a press conference announcing the findings. "So even if a child's family has no health insurance and can't afford medicine, virtually anyone can afford a delicious 99-cent Big Mac with pickles, cheese, and a heapin' helpin' of [the antibiotic] quinupristin-dalfopristin."

Wherein the bastards of the bactericidal, bloody, beef business bear badinage. Fillets (boneless strips of meat specially cut for roasting), anyone?
posted by fold_and_mutilate (44 comments total)

 
Oh, dear. The Onion and an anti-meat thread, wrapped in one! Reminds me of a double bacon cheeseburger....
posted by adampsyche at 12:47 PM on April 26, 2002


So, I guess mommy didn't buy you that Happy Meal, eh?
posted by groundhog at 12:53 PM on April 26, 2002


Nice recipe, groundhog.
posted by adampsyche at 12:54 PM on April 26, 2002


Dude, Onion threads are DOA. Get in your pancakes and haiku quick, 'cuz Mr. Howie won't let this one live long.
posted by briank at 1:00 PM on April 26, 2002


Meatfilter anyone?
posted by xammerboy at 1:00 PM on April 26, 2002


Well, if you get to McDonalds early, you can order from the breakfast menu. Adam, what's your favorite item on the breakfast menu?
posted by Werd7 at 1:01 PM on April 26, 2002


Hash browns. With ketchup.
posted by adampsyche at 1:02 PM on April 26, 2002


And pancakes. Fluffy, McDonalds pancakes, baked with loving goodness.
posted by adampsyche at 1:02 PM on April 26, 2002


The Onion cracks wise
Fold_and_mutilate sees chance
To re-beat dead horse
posted by pardonyou? at 1:13 PM on April 26, 2002


It's actually true that most of the antibiotics sold in the US end up in animal feedlots. It's kinda scary.
posted by spork at 1:15 PM on April 26, 2002


Nice recipe, groundhog

Thanks. I keep that in my profile, so that if I tell someone to eat me, they don't have to hunt around for the recipe.
posted by groundhog at 1:27 PM on April 26, 2002


Stop it. Y'all are making me quite peckish.
posted by sacre_bleu at 1:27 PM on April 26, 2002


i forget how many weeks it took me to notice that foldy and fishy were two different people...
posted by techgnollogic at 2:16 PM on April 26, 2002


There's a thing called "antibiotics resistance" you should be aware of. It simply means that some bacteria is showing incresing resistance to antibiotics, translated in easy to understand terms that means antibiotics aren't always working anymore.

That's happening because some bacteria are becoming accustomed to antibiotics, and there isn't always a new antibiotic good enough to kill the bacteria , or if you need some that works you need a very strong one that also
may harm your body.

So those friggin farmer better stop adding antibiotics to their nice cows, because they're helping bacteria work. And don't tell me we must shut up because it's made for the shake of Holy Profits , if you don't have a cure for your health troubles you may be billionarie, but you're very dead.
posted by elpapacito at 2:26 PM on April 26, 2002


Well, elpapacito, do you let farm animals suffer for their entire lives, or just for a moment when they're slaughtered?

Not curing diseased animals' is not only a waste but an injustice to the animal.

Look! It's PETA vs. PETA! Who will win this one?
posted by shepd at 2:31 PM on April 26, 2002


I've been trying to decide which is worse: McDonald's conquest of the affluent NYC suburbs; or of the poor, unaffluent inner city.

Somewhat off topic: have Filet O'Fish sandwiches always come with cheese? I recently, under nutritional duress, was obliged to get some protein in a Mcdonalds in le Brooklyn Profond and was nauseated to find fromage american.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:34 PM on April 26, 2002


That's why there's an 'O', like in "Potatos O'Gratin"
posted by yhbc at 2:36 PM on April 26, 2002


Dude many times antibiotics are given to cow NOT to cure them, but to prevent disease. Uhm, that sounds good the nice cow is now healthier. Unfortunately the cows that are cured with antibiotics are then slaughtered and you're going to eat them.

Personally I'd rather cure the poor cow and let her live till she dies naturally, and not slaughter and eat her. Would you eat a body that had a disease ?

If you badly need meat, just try not to eat meat that comes from a unhealthy cow cured with antibiotics, the reason is obvious. I'd avoid eating meat that had additional not needed antibiotics used just to prevent cow infection.
posted by elpapacito at 2:37 PM on April 26, 2002


elpapacito: you're absolutely right. i recently read that just over the last six months Cipro has lost a significant degree of its effectiveness because so many people were taking it during the anthrax scare. Also, witness the fact that penicilian has become nearly worthless over the last few decades.

the situation is bad enough that some public health experts predict that in the 21st century we will see a return to high death rates from infectous diseases that we thought we had conquered in the first half of the 20th century.

I don't have time to find links, but if you do a search for "microbial resistance" you'll find plenty of articles.
posted by boltman at 2:54 PM on April 26, 2002


As far as I understand it, antibiotics are given to all cows because their diet causes them to get sick. That's right: in order to fatten them more economically, they're being fed with corn rather than grass, something for which their systems aren't properly equipped. "If They Didn't Give Antibiotics, About 75 Percent Of The Animals' Livers Would Be Abscessed." We're keeping these animals in a state of perpetual sickness, and the attempts to cure them cause mildly funny Onion articles and elpapacito's resistance.

I highly recommend this eye-opening article from the New York Times Magazine.
posted by muckster at 3:00 PM on April 26, 2002


Nothing good happens inside a McDonalds (except, perhaps excretion in the bathroom of healthy food consumed elsewhere.) Accept it, pee, and move on.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:03 PM on April 26, 2002


elpapacito, I'll sum it up:

"Dude many times antibiotics are given to cow NOT to cure them, but to prevent disease."

Makes sense.

"Personally I'd rather cure the poor cow and let her live till she dies naturally, and not slaughter and eat her."

Sorry to say, but you're sorta in a small minority there. Personally I just had a tasty steak, and I've come to terms with the fact that anything I eat was generally living at some point (even if it was a plant), so I may as well make it tasty.

"Would you eat a body that had a disease ?"

Nope, and that's why I like my cows well fed and well "beefed up" with whatever it takes to keep them safe for me to eat.

"If you badly need meat, just try not to eat meat that comes from a unhealthy cow cured with antibiotics, the reason is obvious."

Even my local butcher wouldn't be able to tell me if the cow was ever sick. Either way most all animals get sick at some point. I'd rather have beef that's been fed antibiotics to assure me of its quality than beef that is of questionable health.

But to each their own. I've had beef in England, so maybe I'm not the best source on beef and quality. :-)
posted by shepd at 3:07 PM on April 26, 2002


i like their two cheeseburger meal. it's tasty. why you wanna hate?
posted by techgnollogic at 3:08 PM on April 26, 2002


Actually, I think the "O" is short for "of" Gratin usually=fromage. Maybe you have a point.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:09 PM on April 26, 2002


I like my cows well fed and well "beefed up" with whatever it takes to keep them safe for me to eat.

Shepd, the exact opposite is happening: they're all sick. Unless you're getting specifically "organic" grass-fed beef, you're eating an industrialized animal that has been held in a suspended state of illness, shot up with antibiotics to keep it alive. The article is interesting because it's not an argument for vegeterianism, it's an argument for good, healthy beef -- the kind you say you enjoy, which is getting difficult to find.
posted by muckster at 3:18 PM on April 26, 2002


Good post F&M. Lot of defensive mechanisms going on here. Lots of Homers, only the real ones, not the funny ones.
posted by Zootoon at 3:20 PM on April 26, 2002


There is no doubt in my mind that meat with antibiotic residues are detrimental to the public health and should be banned immediately.

I LOVE meat, but I won't eat it when it damages our capability to fight imflamations and diseases: Many diseases we think of as minor are going to be potentially lethal if antibiotics cease to work.
posted by cx at 3:26 PM on April 26, 2002


Actually, I think the "O" is short for "of" Gratin usually=fromage. Maybe you have a point.

Thank God. I couldn't tell if I was making a joke or not.
posted by yhbc at 4:05 PM on April 26, 2002


And this isn't gone yet why, exactly?
Surely our pal the Vitriolic Vegan could have chosen any one of a million other links about antibiotics in meat.
So is he really above the law here, or not?
posted by darukaru at 4:21 PM on April 26, 2002


Gratin in my dictionary refers to butter and crumbs and "usually cheese." Fillet of Fish=Fillet O' Fish.

But no one answered my question. Have I been eating American Cheese for a number of years without noticing? Justthe thought makes me very ill.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:23 PM on April 26, 2002


PP: Yes.

Muckster: outstanding link. Thanks for pointing that out.
posted by solistrato at 4:28 PM on April 26, 2002


If you want to eat beef (or pork or lamb) with a (relatively) clear conscience, let me recommend Niman Ranch. They stick to "traditional animal husbandry practices", which means, basically, no crowding the animals into pens and keeping them alive on ridiculous doses of antibiotics. You know that the animal you're eating has only ever had one bad day, and the quality of the meat is exceptional. They'll ship nationwide; it's a little more expensive than the grocery store, but well worth it.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:50 PM on April 26, 2002


Looking for somebody who nearly signed off Metafilter permanently because of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria? (raises hand)
Last November, I developed a swelling under my left arm that by Thanksgiving, had grown larger than our turkey. I was p.o.’ed at my old MD so I waited until after the holiday to audition a new name on our PPO list. He took one look and my temperature (103.2) and sent me to St. Joe’s hospital in Burbank (across the street from Disney), where it took them four days to find an antibiotic that could do something followed by eleven days in isolation on intravenous, and five more weeks before I was considered strong enough to return to work (which was probably too early, but by then my finances were sicker than I was). Unofficially, if I’d waited a couple more days, or didn’t get a doctor who’d see me soon and admit me sooner, my empty promises to re-start my weblog might be coming via John Edward.
The bacterial villain was one of a bunch of Staph strains that are cousins of the “flesh-eating bacteria” of tabloid fame (on the list for antibiotic resistance but not nearly the worst). The doctors still haven’t quite explained how I got infected, but I personally blame a mental-case housemate who had taken up dumpster diving as a hobby (I’ve since moved and NOT given him my forwarding address). Now I’ve got a scar on my arm that looks like – well, let’s not get into THAT- but at least I’ve got full use of my left arm back (I’m left-handed). And I’m not allowed to use “Antibacterial” Soap for fear the bad bacteria will make territorial claim on my skin, and I have one more reason not to come within ten feet of a Big Mac (added to high blood pressure, cholesterol and body weight).

The only oral antibiotic they would give me when I was de-hospitalized was Cipro, and now, because of the anthrax scare, the bad bugs are getting resistant to that?!? Okay, hand over the Quarter Pounders, I’m doomed anyway…

And YES, Filet-O-Fish had a HALF slice of cheeseburger-cheese gluing it to the bottom bun as far back as 1972, when Teen Wendell worked the vat of molten tallow for minimum wage three nights a week at a Mickey D’s in the Valley of Zappas.

Oh, and let me be the first to have the nerve to say: "Hold the Pickles, Hold the Lettuce, but DON'T Hold THE ONION!"
posted by wendell at 5:12 PM on April 26, 2002


Gratin in my dictionary refers to butter and crumbs and "usually cheese." Fillet of Fish=Fillet O' Fish.

This is correct. It should also be noted that it isn't "potato(e)s o'gratin" it's "potatoes au gratin" gratin being a French word, after all.
posted by Dreama at 6:55 PM on April 26, 2002


Je pense que je vais commander un "gross" de Cliff Bars pour mon prochain trajet au délà de 100 miles.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:07 PM on April 26, 2002


Just for you: "Living Among Meat Eaters: The Vegetarian's Survival Handbook." (I once watched a Californian fill half a suitcase with packaged tofu in preparation for an extended trip to Africa ...)
posted by sheauga at 7:55 PM on April 26, 2002


I'm not a vegetarian. I just don't like fast food freakdom.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:06 PM on April 26, 2002


You know that the animal you're eating has only ever had one bad day

But, oh, what a bad day it was.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:26 PM on April 26, 2002


wendell: the Cipro thing is really sad because there was another weaker antibiotic that would have been just as effective against anthrax. Cipro has been sort of the ICBM of antibiotics for a while now, but it may not be for much longer.

the only way to solve the problem of microbial resistance is strong regulation of antibiotics from the federal government. As long as it is an option, doctors will overprescribe antibiotics because patients demand them even when they don't need them, and they demand the strongest antibiotics available. Farmers will put them in cattle feed because it is cost-effective to do so. it's the classic case for gov't regulation.
posted by boltman at 9:24 PM on April 26, 2002


Go to D'Angelo's on 9th street Philadelphia. He's got the best, grass fed angus around.

Here in Philly, it's really easy to find quality meat. I remember living in Oklahoma of all places (tons of cows) where you could only get grocery store packaged meat or Arby's.

If you care about the quality of your food, you should look into local markets. There's no way you're gonna find safe, quality meats at the mega mart store. It's not really economical for them. That way, when you get sick, your doctor prescribed antibiotics will have a better chance of working... and it tastes better.
posted by password at 10:13 AM on April 27, 2002


There's a great series on UK TV at the moment called Food Junkies and the first episode made me think again about the way I eat.

There's a website but it's not as good as watching the episodes.
posted by bregdan at 3:31 PM on April 27, 2002


Muckster: thanks for pointing out that VERY interesting NYTM article. I'm not surprised, it just confirmed what I tought, but with more interesting technical details. It's business "as usual".

For some reason some people think business comes before health : so obviously wrong. Again any problem
with production is sold to the consumer, thanks to his ignorance, and postponed until it becomes evident. Sold usually at full price, while antibiotics treated meat should have a much lower price, because it's potentially unhealthy.
Free competition, free market isn't solving the issue, so much for the ones who see the solution to anything in wild liberalization.
posted by elpapacito at 7:10 PM on April 27, 2002


Parisparmus: watch out for transgenic soya, is your tofu healthy ? ;D Damn it's an hell out there.
posted by elpapacito at 7:12 PM on April 27, 2002


It's not the meat, it's the french fries that'll kill ya.
posted by mikewas at 4:43 PM on April 28, 2002


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