Digest – News: Atrazine contamination widespread, testing hogs for MRSA, raw milk sickness in Kansas

Dr. Fox, how is our Patient Chicken doing?: Atrazine, the second most widely used weedkiller in the country — which happens to cause sexual mutations in frogs, among other delightful side effects — is showing up in some streams and rivers at levels high enough to potentially harm their ecosystems, and by extension, ours. How do we know? The EPA has been building a database of atrazine levels from samples of 40 watersheds collected by the chemical's manufacturer, Syngenta Crop Protection. Too bad much of that database remains off-limits because Syngenta is worried about trade secrets. (Washington Post)

Staph tests for swine: A collection of public-interest groups is encouraging the FDA to start testing food animals for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacterial disease that is impervious to antibiotics. About 20% of MRSA cases in the Netherlands are related to animal agriculture. The FDA says it's talking with the Centers for Disease Control about a pilot project. (CQ HealthBeat News)

Coming soon to Kansas — "almost-raw" milk!: At least 87 Kansans have been sickened by bacteria found in raw milk from two dairies. In response, a health official says, "We’re hoping we can help people understand that it’s best, if they’re going to use raw milk, that they take steps in processing to be sure it is essentially pasteurized.” (AP)

Play-by-play sausage-making: Keith Good puts all the reports of the Senate's backroom Farm Bill deals through his grinder, from how House Ag Chair Collin Peterson plans to sit down with Bush to avoid a veto, to Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar's proposed language to deny subsidies to wealthy investors and hobby farmers with well-paying jobs in town. (FarmPolicy.com)

Makes San Francisco spill look like a mere drop in the bucket: Some 2.7 million gallons of crude oil gushed into the ocean in South Korea, threatening the livelihood of an area that includes many oyster and other seafood industries as well as poisoning an important stopover for mallards and other migrating birds. (AP)

This will not get you into heaven: Monsanto, aka agriculture's Voldemort, has joined the Chicago Climate Exchange and plans to reduce its direct carbon emissions by 6% below its 2000 levels by 2010 or buy offsets. Gee, a whole 6%? Exactly how many sulfurous-smelling greenhouse gases does the company generate from its nefarious life-patenting activities? (Reuters)

Canadian retailer bans Nalgene and other plastic bottles over bisphenol A concerns (New York Times)

One Responseto “Digest – News: Atrazine contamination widespread, testing hogs for MRSA, raw milk sickness in Kansas”

  1. Chris says:

    Just to clarify one point: MRSA is, indeed, a serious medical issue and a serious population health issue; it is not, however, "impervious to antibiotics." It is, as the name says, resistant to methicillin. Most MRSA is sensitive to several other antibiotics and can be treated effectively in most people if caught early enough.