Almost 50 percent of U.S. meat polluted with Staph bacteria

by Jon Gonzalez, Staff Writer 0

A new study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) suggests you may want to think twice before ordering that double cheeseburger for lunch.

Results from the study found that 47 percent of all beef and poultry found in the United States is contaminated with the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which is known to cause blood poisoning, pneumonia and most staph infections. More than half of those samples, 52 percent, contained S. aureus that was resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics.

“For the first time, we know how much of our beef and poultry is contaminated with antibiotic-resistant Staph, and it is substantial,” senior author of the study Dr. Lance B. Price said in a released statement. “The fact that drug-resistant S. aureus was so prevalent, and likely came from the food animals themselves, is troubling, and demands attention to how antibiotics are used in food-animal production today.”

For the study, which was published in the journal Clinical Infectious Disease, researchers tested 136 samples of beef, chicken, pork and turkey — using 80 brands — that were purchased from 26 different grocery stores in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Chicago, Fort Lauderdale and Flagstaff.

“Industrial farms,” where food animals are steadily fed low doses of antibiotics, “are ideal breeding grounds for drug-resistant bacteria,” according to the study. But one COC health expert claims that perhaps bigger steps must be taken by consumers.

“Help reduce the practice of giving antibiotics to animals by demanding organically-raised meats/poultry at grocery stores and restaurants,” Sheri Barke, COC’s sports & wellness dietitian, told Cougar News. She added that antibiotic over-use in animals is just as bad, as it is “contributing to the problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria in our environment.”

Barke also gave tips to those preparing meat or poultry:
1. Cook meat/poultry to proper temperatures to kill any antibiotic-resistant bacteria present.
2. Avoid cross contamination of raw meat/poultry with uncooked foods by separating items in grocery cart, refrigerators and preparation.
3. Wash your hands and plates/utensils well after being in contact with raw meat/poultry.

To see the released statement from TGen click here.

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