A new study by Consumer Reports on ground turkey revealed potentially-dangerous bacteria on 90 percent of randomly tested raw turkey products.
Some of the bacteria discovered were resistant to antibiotics. The first-laboratory analysis also showed that turkey raised without antibiotics had less antibiotic-resistant bacteria than turkey raised with antibiotics.
Dr. Urvashi Rangan, director of the food safety and sustainability group at Consumer Reports, stated in a press release:
“Our findings strongly suggest that there is a direct relationship between the routine use of antibiotics in animal production and increased antibiotic resistance in ground turkey.”
Rangan added that it is “concerning that antibiotics fed to turkeys are creating resistance to antibiotics used in human medicine.” The Consumer Reports study tested 257 kinds of raw ground turkey meat and patties. Much of the meat came from major retailers and were store brands.
The samples were tested for bacteria like E. coli that can cause illness and sometimes be fatal. Their results showed that 90 percent of the ground turkey had at least one serious bacteria. Sixty-nine percent of the products had enterococcus, which can cause infections in the digestive and urinary track.
They also discovered 60 percent of samples held E. coli, a major cause of severe food-borne illness in the United States. Of those samples, 80 percent of the enterococcus was resistant to three or more classes of antibiotics, while more than half of the E. coli was as well.
Consumer Reports added that bacteria found on the products that had “no antibiotics,” were labeled organic, or were “raised without antibiotics” were less resistant to antibiotics. The drugs are used in healthy turkeys to stimulate growth and prevent disease. But in the turkeys raised with them, there was much more resistance to types of antibiotics used in them.
While the report seems concerning about bacteria in turkey, Consumer Reports pointed out that safe handling and preparation can prevent illness. It is recommended to wash all hands and surfaces that come into contact with raw turkey. It can also be frozen to kill some of the bacteria. Otherwise, it can be stored at 40 degrees F or below if it will be prepared within a few days.
While most of the bacteria can be killed through cooking, some can produce toxins that may not be destroyed by the heat. It is not clear what implications the Consumer Reports findings will have on the use of antibiotics in turkeys.
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Ground Turkey 90 Percent Contaminated With Bacteria is a post from: The Inquisitr