Talking Turkey: New Study Finds 90 Percent Of Ground Turkey Contaminated With One Or More Dangerous Bacteria

225px-Male_north_american_turkey_supersaturated250px-EscherichiaColi_NIAIDConsumer 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

17 thoughts on “Talking Turkey: New Study Finds 90 Percent Of Ground Turkey Contaminated With One Or More Dangerous Bacteria”

  1. Another reason to have pulled pork sandwiches for lunch today!!

  2. MASkeptic, I built a volcano. Science was not my subject.

  3. My science fair project one year was to create an antibiotic resistent strain of streptococcus. Thankfully that was pre 9/11 so I was not hauled off for waterboarding.

  4. This is what happens when family farms are destroyed by government by, for, and of the huge farming corporation. These megafarms abuse the animals to the extent that they literally kill themselves from misery. It will only stop when we stop buying the meat. Buying = supporting. See for an idea of what is happening regarding our food supply.

  5. Nick,

    Is “enterococcus” an Italian word for nostril? (I already know that “innuendo” is an Italian world for Preparation H).


    Seriously, we have indications of a serious breakdown of public food poison, drug toxin, and environmental toxin prevention in the country.

  6. When I first moved to Wi. I had to interview a witness @ a local grain/silo feed store. On the shelves were Costco sized viles of antibiotics any farmer could buy for their cows. That was an awakening for me. When our daughter went through all different types of antibiotics to find one to work for chronic ear infections it was another lesson. A virulent, drug resitent, bacteria is more dangerous than a terrorist attack.

  7. As someone with a compromised immune system this is important information for me. As a citizen it is an outrageous example of profit over consumer. As someone who has to watch his food intake to keep weight off I stopped buying ground turkey years ago after looking at the fat content on the packaging. Finally though, as a human being I find it so sad that with all of our scientific and technological accomplishment, we are a species that is so incredibly self destructive.

  8. What Frankly said and try to stay away from corporate food if you can.

  9. What Frankly said but with the caveat that “can’t” and “won’t” are not synonymous. Government could do something if our “Purchase A Candidate” graft system were properly criminalized. Go Turkey Lobby!

  10. “A day without red meat is a day lost…” -Anonymously Yours


    Thanks for the laugh.

  11. The use of antibiotics (long criticized by health experts) has helped create a huge petri dish for generating resistant germs to antibiotics.

    …with a heavy emphasis on “long criticized by health experts.”

    Time to talk turkey:

    It’s 2012 in America — I’d expect nothing less. In general, we’re a superficial lot, always waiting on a crisis and, when said crisis arrives, we typically overreact. We frequently turn a blind eye to problems and when they come back to bite us, we’re surprised.

    Oh, and what Frankly said.

  12. I don’t eat ground or processed turkey meat. The only time I will have turkey (or any other kind of fowl) is only if cooked at home. No cold cuts from the deli, thank you.

    There is a sound reason there are regulations for butcher and grocers to keep fowl, fish and red meats separate in storage, preparation and display.

  13. Its all coming together perfectly. Rising ocean temperatures and acidification, disappearing resources, poisoned land, hybrid crops and animals that cannot survive under less than ideal conditions, elevated levels of multiple crippling chemicals in the environment, multiple-drug-resistant-bacteria in our food stuffs an increasingly everywhere, drug waste in our water supplies and several other, small in themselves individually, things. Because of ignorance and greed we have signed our own death warrant. The sorts of efforts it would take to stave off extinction would require massive efforts that only come from government and we all now (despite evidence to the contrary) that governments can’t do anything.

  14. As the GOP and some Democrats continue to rant “We don’t need no stinking regulations!” Let the buyer beware and more power to the free market! The results of that mantra are not always in the best interest of the population….

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