Hooked on cheap shrimp? It's not so cheap

From China, with love

From China, with love

Bloomberg/Business Week reports on the rise of drug-resistant superbugs due to China's use of antibiotics in its fish farms.

I haven't bought any fish imported from China in over a decade, since stories of anti-biotic use first surfaced, but the article exposes such a web of fraudulent mislabelling of frozen fish's country of origin that it's clear you can't safely buy it from any Asian, or even South American country.

Worse, even avoiding eating these contaminated fish will not protect you from the superbugs spreading around the globe as the result of other people eating Chinese fish and growing, and passing along to others, drug-resistant bacteria. That's not good.

At another farm, in Jiangmen, a farmer scatters a scoop of grain to rouse her slumbering swine, penned on the edge of a pond with 20,000 Mandarin fish. The feed contains three kinds of antibiotics, including colistin, which in humans is considered an antibiotic of last resort. Colistin is banned for swine use in the U.S., but until November, when the Chinese government finally clamped down, it was used extensively in animal feed in China. Vials and containers for nine other antibiotics lie around the 20-sow piggery—on shelves, in shopping bags, and atop trash piles. Seven of those drugs have been deemed critically important for human medicine by the World Health Organization.
The overuse of antibiotics has transformed what had been a hypothetical menace into a clear and present one: superbugs, bacteria that are highly resistant to antibiotics. By British government estimates, about 700,000 people die each year from antibiotic-resistant infections worldwide. If trends continue, that number is expected to soar to 10 million a year globally by 2050—more people than currently die from cancer.
In November 2015 scientists reported the discovery of a colistin-resistant gene in China that can turn a dozen or more types of bacteria into superbugs. Since then the gene has been found in patients, food, and environmental samples in more than 20 countries, including at least four patients in the U.S. Food, it now appears, can be a crucial vector. “People eating their shrimp cocktails and paella may be getting more than they bargained for,” says Dr. Martin Blaser, a professor of microbiology and an infectious diseases physician at New York University Langone Medical Center who chairs President Barack Obama’s advisory panel for combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. “The penetration of antibiotics through the food chain is a big problem.”

Bar Muslims from entering the United States? We'd save far more lives if we banned imports of fish from any Asian or South American country, where this fraud originates. Until that happens, I'll dine American, and try to stay out of hospitals.