This is an interesting issue. You’ve probably heard of MRSA, right? Basically, it’s a serious bacteria that’s resistant to most antibiotics. As a nursing student, I’ve seen patients who have it many times throughout my rotations. When I’m working with a patient who has MRSA, they’re on “contact precautions” which means that anyone who works in the hospital has to wear a gown and gloves which must be disposed of in the patient’s room on the way out, and anything you brought in, like a stethoscope, has to be wiped down with medical-grade cleaner. This is all done to prevent the bacteria from spreading to others and causing more infections.
This stuff is now in pork. Yes, pork. I read it here, by way of Vegan.com, but there’s even news available about it on the pork council’s website to which I won’t link, but you’re welcome to google. Of course, the pork council says that if it’s happening that people are getting MRSA it’s rare (but see: they’re not denying it). The suggestion is that people aren’t cooking their pork appropriately if it does happen. As the first link I did provide points out, that doesn’t help all the people who handle the pig while it’s alive. See, pigs don’t go on contact precautions.
When I did my first nursing rotation back in the fall, the majority of the people that I saw who had MRSA were elderly, and lived in nursing homes. Hospitals and nursing homes have been traditionally the two most common places that people pick up MRSA. I’m doing a pediatrics rotation right now, and there are very young children who have picked up MRSA in the community somewhere. Is it just coincidence that otherwise healthy kids are getting MRSA when 70%* of “porkers” have it?
Now there’s salmonella in the tomatoes, MRSA in pigs… I’m telling you, being a picky vegan isn’t so bad.
*statistic is from the above linked article, based on a recent study at the University of Iowa.