Dangerous Bacteria Found in Ground Turkey
As Memorial Day approaches and people are buying meat to grill, Consumer Reports recently published the results of their first lab analysis of ground turkey, a popular alternative to ground hamburger beef. The analysis tested 257 samples brought in from 21 states across many different brands and stores.
More than half of the ground turkey samples tested positive for types of fecal bacteria, including E. coli. Ninety percent of the samples tested positive for one or more types of disease causing-organisms. These bacteria can cause food poisoning, urinary, bloodstream, and other infections.
Many of the bacteria found were antibiotic-resistant, meaning they are much more difficult to treat. The bacteria most likely came from turkeys that were given antibiotics even if they werenít sick, causing the resistance to any antibiotics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that infections caused by these antibiotic-resistant bacteria are becoming increasingly fatal.
The locally popular Giant Eagle Nature's Basket brand was among the 27 brands that were tested. While brand-specific statistics have not yet been released, Giant Eagle's brand was included in the list of brands labeled "organic," "no antibiotics," and "raised without antibiotics." Fortunately, Consumer Reports found these "no antibiotic" brands to be much less likely to carry antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
While the National Turkey Federation claims that Consumer Reports' sample was "extremely small" and therefore "misleading," safety officials remind everyone to follow safe food preparation guidelines.
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"Consumer Reports investigation: Talking turkey." ConsumerReports.org. Online June 2013 issue.