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Don't be alarmed, but be forewarned. Consumer Reports did a study about beef and superbugs.

MRSA and salmonella are real concerns, especially for those with weak immune systems. Here's what you should know.

Don't be alarmed, but be forewarned. Consumer Reports did a study about beef and superbugs.

What happens when you take beef purchased from 26 American cities, some of it raised conventionally and some of it raised sustainably, and test it for "superbugs"?

Consumer Reports ran just such an experiment, and we might want to pay attention to the results. First, let's get some definitions out of the way.

Here's how Merriam-Webster defines superbug:


And what is the difference between sustainably and conventionally raised beef?

  • Conventionally raised beef is from cows that are regularly dosed with antibiotics as a measure to try to prevent illness, instead of to treat it when a bacterial infection occurs.
  • Sustainably raised beef is sometimes also organic, but antibiotics definitely are not used unless a cow is truly sick with a bacterial sickness.

Here's what Consumer Reports found.

Image from USDA/Flickr.

Across 300 samples, totaling 458 pounds of beef (again, purchased from 26 American cities), antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria were found:

  • In 18% of conventionally raised beef.
  • In 9% of sustainably raised beef.

According to this study, your chances of coming across a big, bad superbug are double with conventionally raised beef. Some of us with super-strong immune systems may say, "Meh, I'll take my chances." But for some of the weakest among us with compromised immunity, this information could be crucial to limiting risk.

One organization is pushing back against the study, trying to reframe it positively.

“The real headline here is the bacteria that Consumer Reports doesn't report finding in their testing — Shiga toxin-producing E. coli."
— Betsy Booren, North American Meat Institute

In other words, a meat trade industry is saying the real headline here is that no E. coli was found. Since that was once the most common way to get sick from beef, that's definitely a good thing.

But it doesn't mean the concern about antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains isn't valid.

"In fact, the CDC estimates that each year more than 23,000 people die as a result of an infection caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria."
Consumer Reports "Beef Report"

So what do we do? Freak out? Be afraid of all beef? Nope!

The good news: There are things you can do to limit your risk.

Consider buying sustainably raised beef if you can afford it. But even if your beef is conventionally raised, being smart about how you cook it is key.

Ground beef is significantly more at risk because contaminants on the outside of beef get ground into the bulk of the meat, where it's harder to kill with heat. So burgers should always be cooked to at least 160 degrees internally (about medium).

Of course, one study does not a public safety rule make.

Hopefully more studies will follow this one soon to help consumers know for sure. But in the meantime, this knowledge, along with some helpful things to look for on packaging via Consumer Reports, can help limit your risk.

Because really, everyone just wants to enjoy their Royale With Cheese in peace.

GIF from "Pulp Fiction."

True


Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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Photo by Tod Perry

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