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Blowing Out Birthday Candles Increases Cake Bacteria

An innovative study has revealed that blowing out candles on a birthday cake can increase the bacteria count on the frosting by 1,400 percent, The Atlantic reports. While it might give you another reason to just scrape off the frosting before you eat it, it’s noteworthy that the study also found that the amount of bacteria varies, depending on who’s blowing out the candles. But don’t be alarmed — if birthday cakes were significant sources of illness, we would know that by now, the study’s author commented.

Birthday cakes aside, bacteria are unseen threats that in the right situation can be deadly, specifically because they can quickly develop extreme resistance to antibiotics, surviving antibiotics at a dose 1,000 times higher than they could initially survive in a matter of 11 days. And with tens of thousands of illnesses and deaths from drug-resistant infections going uncounted (as federal and state agencies do not systematically track them), we know the problem is far greater than we think.

While overprescribing of antibiotics to humans is a contributor to this antibiotic resistance, at the core of this are factory farms — confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) that persist in the indiscriminate use of antibiotics to maintain their herds. Eighty percent of the antibiotics used in the U.S. are used by industrial agriculture for purposes of growth promotion and preventing diseases that would otherwise make their CAFOs unviable, and the terrifying downside of this is that they ultimately are turning innocent farm animals into disease factories.

You can help fight antibiotic resistance as well as the sources of it by avoiding anything factory farmed, and looking for and purchasing only antibiotic-free alternatives raised by organic and regenerative farmers. In stores, look for labels that say grass fed, free-range and organic. At home, use antibiotics only when absolutely necessary. Ditch soaps and cleaners with antibiotics in them, and wash with plain soap and water.
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