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  • [♪♪]

  • -[Chef] Everything looks good.

  • -[David] We're in for a treat.

  • A taste test from an award-winning chef.

  • Robert, this looks so good.

  • Anything added to it? Or it's just--

  • This is as basic as it's gonna come.

  • Please dig in.

  • -[David] Okay, I'm gonna go for it.

  • On tonight's menu, shrimp.

  • No sauce, no strong spices.

  • Chef Robert Clark says his shrimp don't need anything.

  • They're different.

  • So, what's your secret?

  • How do you get shrimp to be so much better than I'm used to?

  • The secret of my success is basically sourcing quality.

  • The more you can maintain the integrity of the product,

  • the easier it is.

  • -[David] Chef Clark believes it's tough to buy quality shrimp

  • at the supermarket.

  • I have not eaten a farm tiger prawn imported into Canada

  • in probably 20 years.

  • They could be filled with pesticides,

  • antibiotics, insecticides.

  • They're grown in cesspools.

  • -[David] Cesspools filled with antibiotics?

  • [♪♪]

  • Time for a Marketplace test to find out what's really lurking

  • on our shrimp.

  • Fishmonger.

  • -[David] And here's what you might not know.

  • Unlike chicken and beef, in Canada antibiotic use is banned

  • on all shrimp.

  • This one is from India.

  • -[David] But most of our shrimp is imported largely from Asia.

  • So, I've got some from Vietnam, some from Thailand,

  • some from China.

  • -[David] So we buy 51 packages from Montreal,

  • Toronto, Saskatoon, and Calgary.

  • Let's get an organic one.

  • -[David] We even pick a few organic samples from Ecuador

  • and from Vietnam.

  • On one of the labels, "raised without the need

  • "for antibiotics."

  • "Uncooked pacific white shrimp, de-veined."

  • "From India, de-veined."

  • -[David] Then we pack them on ice...

  • And we are good to go.

  • -[David] ..and ship them off to a special lab

  • at the University of Saskatchewan.

  • [♪♪]

  • It's run by microbiologist Joseph Rubin.

  • He's testing to see if there are dangerous bacteria

  • on our shrimp.

  • Joe, hi.

  • What have you got here?

  • I have some of the results from your shrimp.

  • -[David] These are our shrimp here or, at least,

  • bits of them?

  • Yes, yes. The organisms we grew.

  • And what are you looking for?

  • What we're looking for are different types of antibiotic

  • resistant bacteria and different types of food-borne pathogens.

  • -[David] Pathogens like E. coli, salmonella,

  • staphylococcus aureus.

  • Potentially harmful bacteria that can adapt into superbugs

  • that many antibiotics cannot kill.

  • What's this one here?

  • -[Joseph] What you can see is we have these nice pink colonies.

  • Which is very characteristic of E. coli.

  • In addition to showing us that we have E. coli, also

  • contains antibiotics in it and so we think that based

  • on growth on this plate, we have an antibiotic

  • resistant bacteria.

  • -[David] First result and it's positive for E.coli

  • but Rubin still needs to run a DNA test overnight

  • to see if the bacteria is antibiotic resistant.

  • The possibility is a big concern.

  • He tells us about recent research from the UK.

  • They did a large study, and were projecting forward to 2050,

  • that the number of people who would be dying of resistant

  • organisms could potentially even surpass cancer.

  • -[David] They're already killing people.

  • The superbugs can travel from farm,

  • to store, to your kitchen.

  • -[Wendy] I don't know where my place is in this world anymore.

  • -[David] But especially in hospitals.

  • -[Wendy] That's my husband.

  • -[David] It looks like you had the camera ready

  • at the exact moment.

  • -[Wendy] His beautiful eyes.

  • -[David] Two years ago, Wendy Gould's husband George

  • was diagnosed with colon cancer.

  • -[David] Did you think he was going to live at that point?

  • If I had anything to do with it, yes.

  • -[David] You were going to try to keep him alive as

  • long as you could.

  • Everything in my power.

  • -[David] But Wendy ran into a problem that left her powerless.

  • George developed a serious infection.

  • They had him on antibiotics trying to kill this infection.

  • Yeah.

  • -[David] Why weren't they working?

  • Well, it would clear up, but it's still in there.

  • It didn't kill it, it cleared up the infection.

  • But the bug's still waiting.

  • -[David] What was the nature of this bug that meant the

  • antibiotics weren't working on it?

  • Well, it was a superbug.

  • [♪♪]

  • -[David] They found out in a letter from the hospital telling

  • them about a contaminated endoscope

  • that was used on George.

  • "We're writing to inform you that you are one of three

  • patients who have been identified as having been

  • infected with the bacterium that is called,

  • New Delhi Metalo Eso--" I don't know how to say that--

  • -[David] But the E.coli.

  • Yup, E.coli.

  • -[David] How does a New Delhi strain of a bug

  • end up inside George?

  • From the endoscope.

  • -[David] Doctors tried to kill that bug using

  • half a dozen different antibiotics,

  • some so powerful, Wendy says George was

  • violently hallucinating.

  • -[Wendy] This is July 28th, 2016 so it was about a week

  • after his surgery.

  • -[David] He was hospitalized 23 times in just over a year.

  • George became too weak to continue cancer treatment,

  • too sick from the bacteria to eat.

  • And there he is January, 2018.

  • And that was-- he passed away January 25th.

  • This is what the bug did to him.

  • Then everything fell apart.

  • -[David] Do you think he could've survived?

  • -[Wendy] Yeah.

  • Maybe he wouldn't have been here you know--

  • for years and years but it certainly would've been

  • longer than two years and he wouldn't

  • have had to suffer.

  • -[David] What is the thing that's important

  • for people to know?

  • You could have all the best doctors in the world taking

  • care of you with whatever it is is the matter with you but if

  • you get one of these infections, that's it.

  • [♪♪]

  • I'm terrified by this stuff.

  • Multi-drug resistance is probably the biggest threat

  • that we have to modern medicine in the 21st century.

  • -[David] Biochemist Gerry Wright is the director of McMaster

  • University's Institute for Infectious Disease Research.

  • So, this is your lab?

  • -[Gerry] This is where most of my students and staff work.

  • What we're trying to do is find new antibiotics and learn more

  • about antibiotic resistance.

  • Every time you have a knee replacement,

  • any kind of surgery, cancer chemotherapy,

  • you have anyone in your extended family that's had a premature

  • baby, they all rely on antibiotics because their

  • immune systems are weak.

  • -[David] And what happens if we can't use them,

  • if we've sort of run out of antibiotics because

  • everything's resistant?

  • All of what we consider to be modern medicine

  • becomes incredibly risky.

  • -[David] One contributor to the crisis,

  • overuse of the drugs in our food at home and abroad.

  • And when it comes to shrimp farmed overseas,

  • they are often crammed into disease-prone pools.

  • As a result, antibiotics are sometimes added

  • to keep the shrimp alive, contaminating our food.

  • Canada is passing laws that say no antibiotics in much of our

  • food, just banning it.

  • Doesn't that help?

  • Our supermarkets are full of food that come not just from

  • Canada but come from all around the world and the challenge that

  • we have to deal with now is that those countries don't have the

  • same regulations that we do.

  • -[David] That sounds a bit like a backdoor.

  • That's correct.

  • That's the challenge that we have.

  • -[David] That backdoor means that whatever Canada says about

  • banning antibiotics in shrimp, superbugs are

  • still getting into the country.

  • Once these organisms are here, once these genes are in Canada,

  • then there's no good way to keep them from spreading around.

  • So, what would be a really good idea is to prevent them

  • from getting in, in the first place.

  • -[David] Yeah.

  • -[David] Cross-country shrimp shopping spree.

  • [♪♪]

  • Our mission testing for superbugs on shrimp.

  • 51 packages, shipped to Joe Rubin's lab.

  • The first results show a troubling bacteria.

  • Now we want to know if it's also antibiotic resistant.

  • So, this is the final confirmation?

  • This is the final confirmation.

  • So, what we're going to see here is whether or not we've been

  • able to identify the actual resistance genes.

  • And here you can see...

  • there's our bands.

  • There's proof positive these are ESBL producing strains.

  • And what an ESBL is, is an enzyme the bacteria produce

  • that allows them to break down antibiotics.

  • -[David] The ESBL is almost like an antibiotic killer?

  • That's not a bad way of thinking about it, yeah.

  • It's a bacterial countermeasure.

  • -[David] Overall, Rubin finds 17 per cent,

  • nearly 2 out of every 10 packages of the shrimp we test

  • are contaminated with antibiotic resistant bacteria.

  • Of those, most are resistant to more than one antibiotic.

  • And of them, 33 per cent test positive for ESBL,

  • the antibiotic killer.

  • ESBLs are really effective at degrading

  • penicillin-type drugs.

  • -[David] So what about the organic samples?

  • Turns out Rubin finds an ESBL superbug on

  • one of those brands, too.

  • We also had shrimp samples that had this label on them

  • "best aquaculture practices."

  • Did any of those turn up positive

  • for antibiotic resistance?

  • Yeah, so of the nine samples that we tested where we

  • identified resistant bacteria, six of those were from products

  • that had that indication of certification on them.

  • -[David] BAP says to be certified,

  • farmers should only use antibiotics minimally.

  • As a shopper, we asked Rubin what he thinks certified means.

  • A product that has maybe higher quality than other products.

  • Now, whether that's true or not and, and what the

  • particular certification is actually aiming to certify

  • is maybe an open-ended question.

  • -[Female Narrator] We are the one-stop shop

  • for aquaculture certification.

  • -[David] We share our findings with BAP.

  • They agree that antibiotic resistance is a worldwide

  • problem but emphasize their shrimp isn't "unsafe".

  • Still, their certification doesn't guarantee it wasn't

  • treated with antibiotics.

  • Many unanswered questions, including why one country has

  • more positives for resistant bacteria than any other.

  • Of the nine contaminated samples China accounts for two,

  • Vietnam and Thailand, one each,

  • and India, five.

  • Does it prompt questions for you that five of the nine

  • contaminated samples came from India?

  • Absolutely.

  • Yep, I would be really interested to know,

  • sort of, where there may have been breakdowns in the

  • production cycle that would have allowed

  • this contamination to occur.

  • -[David] Most shrimp in Canadian supermarkets come from India-

  • 15 million kilograms a year.

  • India also uses more antibiotics than any other country,

  • doubling their use in less than 20 years.

  • How did these bacteria that we found in the shrimp become

  • resistant to antibiotics?

  • There's always a low level of resistance but the kinds of

  • resistance that you-- that were detected,

  • is really connected in a very straight line towards--

  • with antibiotic use.