Following recent FDA reports that the U.S. meat supply is tainted with antibiotic resistant bacteria, Consumer Reports has now performed their own study. The publication has confirmed previous reports that showed that up to 81 percent of ground turkey had antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The new report performed by Consumer Reports may be a little sickening to many, as it indicates that more than half of raw ground turkey meat and turkey patties purchased at U.S. supermarkets tested positive for bacteria found in fecal matter. Of the samples tested 90 percent had at least one of five types of bacteria harmful to human health including Enterococcus, E. coli, Staph aureus, Salmonella, and Campylobacter.

Shockingly, almost all of the bacteria found were resistant to at least one type of antibiotic. Eighty percent of the enterococcus bacteria were resistant to three classes of antibiotics as well as half of all E. coli found. Three samples were even found to contain methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which is known to cause possibly fatal infections and is a superbug bacteria that kills close to 20,000 in the U.S. every year.

The most riveting part of the report is the section that states that ground turkey that was labeled "no antibiotics," "organic," or "raised without antibiotics" was just as likely to have bacteria as unlabeled meats. Meat from antibiotic free farms can pick up harmful bacteria in the slaughterhouse or during processing. On the bright side, the report indicated that the bacteria found on these more expensive types of meat were far less likely to be resistant to antibiotics.

Consumer Reports suggests buying organic and "no antibiotic" turkey. Also, they state that no meat is risk free and meat should be cooked soon after purchase to a temperature of 165° F and stored at below 40° F before cooking. Freezing meat does not kill bacteria, so it needs to be coked properly once it is thawed. Remember that in order to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria wash hands before and after touching raw meat and washing all surfaces.

The Consumer Reports article can be found here.

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