Cottage Foods: Combating Antibiotic Resistance Locally?

A lot of things have changed in 2016 (and even early 2017) but at least we all still have one thing in common: we all eat.  An increasing number of people put a premium on eating healthy food from local farmers.  In fact, numerous states consider local food an import part of their identity and economy.  With the thought of promoting agritourism, attracting tourists and visitors to a farm or ranch, and local businesses, many states have introduced cottage foods bills and laws.

But what’s a cottage food?  Is it made in a cottage?  Is it a form of cheese?  No-the definition is actually much broader than either of those.

Cottage foods are defined as non-potentially hazardous food products that are made in someone’s residence as part of a business. These products are allowed for sale in several different states under slightly different laws and regulations.  The largest issue with these products is that producing food in someone’s home can be a recipe for microbial hazards, like contamination with Salmonella or Listeria.

(Image from United States Library of Congress, LC-USW36-949)

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Antibiotic Resistance Trifecta: Interactions of Antibiotics, Microbes, and the Gut Microbiome

There are many concerns about how the gut microbiota is impacted by antibiotics.  Since the widespread use, and sometimes over use of antibiotics began around 80 years ago, bacterial antibiotics has increase worldwide.  This makes bacterial infections harder to treat and increases the risk of severe side effects.  If was only this year in January that a woman died from a bacterial infection contracted after surgery that was resistant to 23 different antibiotics.

It’s clear that bacterial antibiotic resistance has risen alarmingly.  What is less clear is how those antibiotics effect the gut microflora.  Studies recently performed have shown that a dysbiosis, an “unbalanced” or abnormal state of the microbiome, in the gut can cause unchecked microbial growth of low abundance organisms known as opportunistic pathogens.  These opportunists are usually kept in check by other dominant microbes but when those microbes decrease in number, the opportunists can grow unchecked and cause devastating health issues.

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Resources on Antibiotic Resistance and the Microbiome

Below are 2 excellent resource (curtsey of QIAGEN) that give a great background on antibiotic resistance in hospital infections and using metagenomic techniques to study the microbiome.  We do not claim ownership of the slides or any product, techniques, or studies used and are not attempting to promote them.  They all belong to QIAGEN and associated researchers.  We simply recognize the value of the introductory information and wish to share the slides for educational purposes.

The slide decks can be found online below: