Remember Food, Inc., the seminal 2008 Oscar-nominated documentary that laid into the major problems with modern industrialized agriculture? Director Robert Kenner is at is again. This time, though, it's no movie. Kenner has helped create the first crowd-sourced map that can assist you in avoiding meat products that contain antibiotics. (This must be pretty big news if a vegan is willing to write about it.)
Not to get all pre-apocalyptic, but December 2012 a.k.a the end of the Mayan calendar is just around the corner. You know. As in Doomsday. Zombies. John Cusack movies. Maybe the Mayans knew something about salmonella contaminated pink-ish slime that we didn't? Perhaps we're about to witness the rise of antibiotic-resistant aliens? Whatever the case may be—you do not want to be too sick to miss it.
Antibiotic resistance is a long-standing issue, garnering major warnings from the World Health Organization and most recently, the former FDA commissioner, Donald Kennedy himself, urging the agency and Congress to take actions to regulate non-therapeutic antibiotics. More than 29 million pounds—80 percent of the nation's antibiotic supplies—currently go into livestock feed as a preventative against infections (common in cramped, crowded and filthy cages), and they're also used to stimulate unnatural excessive growth in animals. They also create antibiotic resistance. Not just in the pathogens common in animal products (E. coli, salmonella, listeria, campylobacter, etc), but they can also create resistance in people who consume antibiotic-laced meats, making them unable to fight off other common infections. The WHO said the situation is so serious that they're calling it the 'post-antibiotic era,' where a scraped knee could be life threatening.
Right. The map.
Earlier this week, Grist.org reported that FixFood, Kenner's nonprofit, along with Real Time Farms—a crowd sourced nationwide food guide—partnered up to design the map. And it works pretty darn easily: you enter your zip code into the website. The map then points you to stores, restaurants and even farmers markets (that's the coolest) close to you that sell antibiotic-free meat products. So you have your choice: buy something to take home and prepare, or find restaurants that are stepping up to the plate and serving high quality meat products.
So, whether it's the apocalypse, aliens or antibiotic-resistant zombie-aliens coming at us in December, now certainly seems to be one heck of a good time to get yourself off the antibiotic-laden meat...before it gets you.
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger
Image: Real Time Farms