Consumer Reports has come out with a rather alarming study that shows that 60 percent of ground turkey tested contained fecal bacteria and sixty-nine percent of ground-turkey samples contained enterococcus. Even more scary was that 80 percent of the enterococcus bacteria were resistant to three or more groups of closely related antibiotics (or classes), as were more than half of the E. coli.
In all, 90 percent of the samples tested positive for one or more of the five bacteria targeted by the study such as salmonella and staphylococcus aureus. Three samples were contaminated with the potentially lethal methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
The percentage of such bacteria as E Coli did not change with organic or antibiotic-free turkeys.
The use of antibiotics (long criticized by health experts) has helped create a huge petri dish for generating resistant germs to antibiotics. Despite such studies, we continue to cut a demonstrably small force of food inspectors — relying on large part on the industry’s self-regulation.
The study is likely to have a huge impact on consumers who often view turkey as a healthier substitute for ground beef. It remains lower in fat but the contamination levels are astonishing.
The astonishing level of contamination in ground turkey would suggest that a large number of people are likely sickened every year without necessarily knowing that it was the turkey that was the culprit rather than the usual suspects of unclean restaurant conditions or other foods like lettuce etc. The problem is that people who are sickened by such food often do not trace their illness to a particular product. The result that tort actions remain rare due to factual causation problems — reducing the deterrence afforded by litigation.
Source: Consumer Reports