A new and dangerous strain of Salmonella is circulating in Europe and North African poultry. As usual these days, it’s hypothesized to come from the use of antibiotics in factory farming operations. Only this time it’s a bit different.
Some less “clean” forms of aquaculture (the factory farming of fish) use a (disgusting) process called “integrated aquaculture”. Basically, this means that the ponds are fertilized with chicken poop, and the waste from the ponds is fed back to chickens as “feed”. Suffice to say that you wouldn’t want to eat either that fish or that chicken if you knew the source in advance.
It looks like the DNA that made this new Salmonella (almonella Kentucky ST198) so dangerous came from poultry feed/fish poop that was subject to some antibiotic exposure and became resistant. It then jumped to the chickens through their feed.
It’s troubling on two counts. First, aquaculture is actually one of the more sustainable ways to provide ecologically-friendly food protein to the world’s population, so seeing dangerous bugs pop up in that world is not good news. Second, because aquaculture is a young method compared to land-animal farming, the regulations are weak and incomplete, therefore allowing such practices as poop-food recycling. It means that antibiotic abuse is part of small-scale farms now, and those farms are growing fish.
(via Wired Science)