Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired To Get Antibiotics Off Your Plate, Vote With Your Wallet

Hexbyte Tech News Wired To Get Antibiotics Off Your Plate, Vote With Your Wallet

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

Each year, in the weeks before the New Year, the Food and Drug Administration drops a set of statistics with a wonky title and profound relevance to public health. The “Summary Report On Antimicrobials Sold or Distributed for Use in Food-Producing Animals” contains data that pharma companies have given to the FDA on how many antibiotics are sold in the United States to be given to farm animals.

This year’s report was highly anticipated, because it would show the numbers from 2017—the first year to reflect tough restrictions put in place in the last days of the Obama Administration.

The anticipation was justified. The report, which was released Tuesday, shows that sales of antibiotics for use in farm animals dropped significantly in just one year. That drop reduces the possibility that antibiotic use on farms will create resistant bacteria that cause untreatable infections in humans. It is excellent news.

Maryn McKenna (@marynmck) is an Ideas contributor for WIRED, a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, and the author of Big Chicken.

But as positive as the numbers are, the news isn’t perfect. The FDA report shows that millions of pounds of antibiotics are still being used in livestock in the United States. So the report that’s a test of strict new regulations also turns out to be a testimony to the limits of regulation. The new rules created change, but not enough change to transform an industry.

That ought to be discouraging—if the strictest regulations ever put in place in the United States aren’t enough to curtail antibiotic use, then can anything?

Except: At about the same time the report was released, a slew of food-related companies announced they are turning away from antibiotic use in the meat they use. Change around antibiotic overuse is happening— but it’s coming from an unexpected place. It’s the market, more than the government, that’s creating it.

Antibiotics get into animals in three ways: As treatments for diseases, as prevention for diseases that might occur, and as “growth promoters”—tiny doses, far too small to cure an infection, which cause animals to put on weight more quickly. The first use is episodic, happening only when a disease is diagnosed, but the other two are routine, occurring on most days of livestock’s lives.

Those routine doses have a long history: The FDA granted a license for antibiotics to be used that way in the early 1950s, only a few years after it approved the first antibiotics for human use. But just a few years after antibiotics went on sale, antibiotic-resistant bacteria began to infect people and cause hospital outbreaks. And just a few years after the FDA allowed farmers to use antibiotics for growth promotion, antibiotic-resistant bacteria began to flow out of farms as well.

Change around antibiotic overuse is happening— but it’s coming from an
unexpected place. It’s the market, more than the government, that’s
creating it.

Losing the drugs’ power so quickly caused governments to rethink squandering antibiotics on livestock. In 1971, the British government banned the act of using growth-promoter antibiotics in farm animals, followed by the Scandinavian countries in the 1980s and all of the European Union in 2005. There was one US attempt to create similar controls, in 1977: The Carter Administration tried to empower its FDA to take back the licenses it had granted in the 1950s, but was foiled by Congressional interference.

That failure created a stalemate over farm antibiotics that lasted for decades. During these years, members of Congress who wanted to see antibiotic use curtailed realized they could make better arguments if they had better data. They swung a deal attached to reapproval of a cherished FDA program requiring pharma companies to divulge every year how many antibiotics they were selling for use in livestock.

The report that came out Tuesday is the latest product of that deal. It records what happened to antibiotic use on US farms after those Obama Administration rule changes, which made one of those three uses of antibiotics, the growth-promoting doses, illegal in the United States.

In the year 2017, the first year the new rules were in force, sales of all antibiotics for use in US farm animals fell by more than 20 percent. Sales of “medically important” antibiotics—ones that are identical to the antibiotics used in humans, and therefore riskiest for stimulating antibiotic resistance—fell by 33 percent. Sales of antibiotics specifically for growth promotion did just what the Obama administration hoped: In one year, they dropped from 12.7 million pounds to zero.

But all the antibiotics being given to US livestock didn’t drop to zero. Disease treatment remains legal, of course, and so does that problematic preventative use. As a result, American livestock got more than 24 million pounds of antibiotics in 2017, and half of those were the same “medically important” drugs that are used in humans.

Given the pro-business stance of the Trump administration, it’s unlikely we’ll see further government controls on antibiotic use. So this report feels like a starting point and a stopping point at the same time: a demonstration that government action works, and a valedictory to getting any more action like it. But government action isn’t required to change business behaviors, if businesses are willing to act on their own. When it comes to meat production, it suddenly looks like they are.

In the past few years, companies have moved away from antibiotics: The poultry company Perdue Farms announced in 2014 that it was taking all of its operations antibiotic-free, and the rest of the US chicken industry followed its lead within a few years. But beef and pork producers mostly didn’t follow; they argued their animals would be harder to wean off antibiotics, and their big buyers weren’t asking for change.

Now they are. On December 7, the giant warehouse club Costco said it would require all of its meat suppliers to restrict antibiotics to “therapeutic use” only—that is, just for disease treatment, not for prevention or weight gain. On December 11, McDonald’s announced it is launching a program to reduce antibiotic use in the massive amount of beef it buys, and committed to drafting a company policy by 2020.

“This is something that consumers were asking for and doctors were calling for,” says Shelby Luce, an associate in the antibiotics program at the nonprofit group US PIRG, which helped McDonald’s draft its program. “The market really is creating change.”

And on the same day the FDA report went public, a coalition of food producers, wholesalers and retailers, and animal-health organizations—including Hormel Foods, Tyson, Smithfield Foods, the National Pork Board and the National Turkey Federation, and Walmart among others—signed on to a 15-point “antibiotic stewardship” program for meat.

This report feels like a starting point and a stopping point at the
same time: a demonstration that government action works, and a
valedictory to getting any more action like it.

The program is modeled on antibiotic stewardship rules for healthcare that are promulgated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was drafted and brought to the companies by the Pew Charitable Trusts, who perceived consumers were confused by the labels that meat companies are starting to put on their products, and recognized there was a need for common principles.

There’s a thread tying together all these meat industry moves, and it’s buyer power. It’s common to feel that consumers are, well, consumers, passive receivers of whatever companies choose to bring out. The sudden turn of the meat industry away from antibiotic use demonstrates that consumer spending can move markets—and maybe can push markets further than regulation can.

More Great WIRED Stories

Read More

Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers How to Make Antibiotics at Home | Collapse Medicine | Doom and Bloom (TM) | Doom and Bloom (TM)

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers How to Make Antibiotics at Home | Collapse Medicine | Doom and Bloom (TM) | Doom and Bloom (TM)

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers

Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers Making Penicillin at Home

Hey Prepper Nation, 

Accumulating medications may be simple when it comes to finding aspirin and other non-prescription drugs but prescription drugs will be hard to get for those who can’t write their own prescriptions or don’t have a relationship with an understanding physician who can.  Antibiotics are a case in point.

I consider this a major issue because there will be a much larger incidence of infections when people have to fend for themselves, and injure themselves as a result.  Simple cuts and scratches from chopping wood can begin to show infection, in the form of  redness, heat and swelling, within a relatively short time.   Treatment of infections at an early stage improves the chance that they will heal quickly and completely.  However, many preppers, being the rugged type, are most likely to ignore the problem until it get much worse and spreads to their entire body, causing problems that could eventually be fatal.  Having antibiotics readily available would allow them to deal with the issue until medical help (if available at all) arrives.

What Are Good Sources for Antibiotics?

Of course, I’ve mentioned using aquarium antibiotics as a simple and relatively cheap way to get good quantities of various antibiotics.  Since the only ingredient in these medications is the antibiotic itself, it’s a perfectly reasonable alternative to begging your physician for a bunch of prescriptions.  Once in a while, I get someone who wants to know how to make penicillin (it’s just bread mold, ain’t it?).  It’s true that penicillin is a by-product of a fungus known as penicillium and the fungus will indeed grow on bread and fruit.  In 1942, A moldy cantaloupe in Peoria, Illinois was found  to have a strong version of it.  Most of the world’s supply of the stuff in the 1940s came from cultures of the fungus on that cantaloupe.

Well, our good friend The Covert Prepper has sent me the secret formula for making penicillin at home.  If you haven’t listened in on his show on Saturdays, you’re missing something, because this guy is an expert on making you invisible as a prepper.  This is exactly what you will want to be if a collapse situation occurs.  You can tune in to his show every Saturday at 6pm eastern/5pm central or download it at your convenience at prepperpodcast.com. 

This article will tell you how you can actually make Penicillin at home.  It sure as heck isn’t easy, and WE don’t even have all the stuff necessary to produce it.  But I’m going to tell you the process anyway to illustrate an important point.

Let me say, once again, that this information is only for use in a post-collapse scenario, so don’t go and convert that meth lab of yours to an antibiotic factory.  The practice of medicine without a license is illegal just about everywhere, and home laboratories are dicey legal subject matter.

Penicillin is a by-product of the Penicillium fungus, but the thing is, it’s a by-product of a Penicillium fungus that’s under stress!  So you have to grow the fungus, and then expose it to stresses that will make it produce Penicillin.

First you need to produce a culture of the penicillium fungus. – A microbiological culture is a method of multiplying microscopic organisms by letting them reproduce in a certain environment under controlled  conditions

One of the most important things to know is that it is easy for other critters to contaminate your penicillium culture, so use sterile techniques at all times or you will likely wind up with something entirely different!

Step 1

 Expose a slice of bread or citrus peel or a cantaloupe rind to the air at 70 deg. F until a bluish-green mold develops.  Takes a few days….

Cut two fresh slices of whole wheat bread into ½ inch cubes and place in a 750ml Erlenmeyer flask (the flask on the right in the above picture) with a non-absorbent plug. One thing you might not know is that a lot of bakeries put a substance called a mold inhibitor on bread.  This stuff, which is called mycoban, is going to suppress the fungus, so you should probably use bread that you baked yourself.  Sterilize the flask and contents in a pressure cooker for at least 15 minutes at 15 pounds. An alternate method is to place in an oven at 315 deg F for one hour.

In a sterile fashion, transfer the fungus from the bread or fruit peel into the flask containing the bread cubes. Allow the cubes to sit in the dark at 70 deg F for 5 days. This is called incubation.  That’s the easy part….

Step 2  This is where it gets complicated….

Prepare one liter of the following solution:

Lactose Monohydrate                    44.0 gm

Corn Starch                                    25.0 gm

Sodium Nitrate                               3.0 gm

Magnesium Sulfate                      0.25 gm

Potassium MonoPhosphate         0.50 gm

Glucose Monohydrate                  2.75 gm

Zinc Sulfate                                0.044 gm

Manganese Sulfate                    0.044 gm

You’ll obviously need a scale that measures very small amounts, these are called gram scales and you can find them online.  By the way, looking some of these ingredients up, I could find them at chemical supply houses, but they usually sell them in amounts of 500 gm or more.

Anyhow, dissolve in the order I listed them in 500ml of cold tap water and then add more cold water to complete the liter.

Adjust pH to 5.0-5.5 using HCL(hydrochloric acid). You’ll need a ph test kit, they sell them at pet shops and garden supply stores    Fill containers with a quantity of this solution. Only use enough so that when the container is placed on its side the liquid will not touch the plug.

Sterilize the containers (use glass) and solution in a pressure cooker or stove just like you did before. When it cools, scrape up about a tablespoon of the fungus from the bread cubes and throw it into the solution.

Allow the containers to incubate on their sides at 70 deg F for 7 days. It’s important that they are not moved around.  If you did it correctly, you’ll have Penicillin in the liquid portion of the media.Filter the mixture through a coffee filter or something similar, plug the bottles and refrigerate immediately.

Step 3

To extract the penicillin from the solution:

Adjust the cold  solution to pH 2.2 using ( .01 %) HCL. Mix it with cold ethyl acetate in a separatory funnel (that’s a funnel with a stopcock; you can find all these items at chemistry glass suppliers) and shake well for 30 seconds or so. 

Drain the ethyl acetate (which should be on the bottom) into a beaker which has been placed in an ice bath and repeat the process. Add 1% potassium acetate and mix. Now you want the ethyl acetate to evaporate off. This can be induced by a constant flow of air over the top of the beaker, say from a fan.  When it dries, the remaining crystals are a mixture of potassium penicillin and potassium acetate.

There you have it, you have put together a laboratory and made Penicillin!  You are now officially a mad scientist!  Seriously, After looking at all this a few times,  I’m  guessing that making Penicillin at home isn’t that workable, after all.  However, it does make a point.   If there’s a collapse, you know there is no way that anyone will be able to reliably produce antibiotics.

So you can try to do all of the stuff I mentioned, or….you can google search “aquarium antibiotics” and buy fish-Pen (250mg) or Fish-Pen Forte (500mg) online. 100 tablets go for about 39.99 at the lower dose and 49.99 for the higher dose. Buy as much as you can afford, there is no prescription necessary.  $400 will buy you 1000 tablets to save or to use for barter. It seems like a lot of money, but those antibiotics will be like gold in a collapse situation. 

It’s clear to me that every prepper  should have a stockpile of antibiotics (several varieties) in their storage, and should learn what each one is used for.  If you don’t want to buy fish medicine, at least grow plants that have some antibacterial action. Garlic has scientifically proven antibacterial properties.  Other plants that are thought to be helpful would be calendula (a special type of marigold), goldenseal, cayenne pepper, eucalyptus and thyme.

For more info, download Dr Bones and Nurse Amy Show #7 or look up my article on survivalblog.com from 7/28/10. (A doctor’s thoughts on antibiotics, expiration dates and TEOTWAWKI).

Here’s the article link: 


Dr. Bones

                                                                    Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers                                                                                                            FISH-PEN FORTE

To read more about medical training and preparedness please

click here


Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Read More

Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired The Case for Expensive Antibiotics

Hexbyte Tech News Wired The Case for Expensive Antibiotics

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired

Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired

Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

A handful of years ago, a small pharmaceutical company quietly acquired the rights to an old but commonly used antibiotic. Few noticed until last week, when the new owner did something that’s recently become common in the world of pharmaceuticals: It abruptly raised the price. A lot.

The manufacturer is called Nostrum Laboratories, and the drug for which it hiked the price—by more than 400 percent—is called nitrofurantoin. It’s a name that probably means nothing to most, but is precious to the 6 to 8 million Americans who get urinary tract infections every year. Nitrofurantoin treats bladder infections, and Nostrum’s version is a liquid, used for children, elderly patients, and anyone who can’t swallow a pill.

Read More