For those who are trying to avoid red meat and stick to poultry, there’s a new problem. According to a lab analysis by Consumer Reports, more than half of the raw ground turkey packages and patties tested positive for fecal bacteria.
Other germs, such as salmonella and staphylococcus aureus, were found in the meat as well. 90% of the meat tested had one or more of the following bacteria: enterococcus (69%) Escherichia coli (60%), staphylococcus aureus (15%), salmonella (5%), and campylobacter (0%).
Another major problem with the bacteria is that they are showing resistance to antibiotics. Because turkeys, chickens, and pigs are given antibiotics that are similar to those given to humans, the diseases transmitted by the meat have stimulated the growth of drug-resistant superbugs. Bacteria on turkeys that were labeled “organic” or “no antibiotics” were less resistant to antibiotics.
E. coli and staphylococcus aureus can not only engender food poisoning but also urinary, bloodstream, and other infections.
Consumer Reports had recommendations for those eating ground turkey, among which were:
- Buy turkey labeled “organic” or “no antibiotics”
- Meat to be cooked within two days should be stored at 40° F or below. Otherwise, freeze it.
- Cook ground turkey to at least 165° F.
- Wash hands and all surfaces after handling ground turkey.
- Don’t return cooked meat to the plate that held it raw.