90% Of Ground Turkey Contains Disease-Causing Bacteria
At least one disease-causing strain of bacteria was found on 90% of ground turkey samples, the report said [PDF].
They tested 257 samples of ground turkey from 21 states and 27 different brands for the presence of five bacteria: campylobacter; the two leading causes of
These bacteria can cause
Even scarier, almost all of those bacteria were resistant to at least one — and usually multiple — antibiotics, the report says [PDF].
Farmers dose animals with antibiotics to prevent illness — even when the birds are healthy. continued exposure to antibiotics forces the bacteria to evolve to be resistant to them.
That makes these disease-causing bacteria even more dangerous, because if you catch them, they are much harder to treat because normal antibiotics don't kill them anymore.
And surprisingly, the researchers didn't find a difference between ground turkey farmed traditionally or those labeled as having been raised without antibiotics or labeled organic. Those turkey samples were just as likely to contain bacteria as other types, although the bacteria on those products were less likely to be antibiotic-resistant.
Some plants were worse than others when it came to the contamination in the turkey samples. You can determine what plant your turkey comes from by looking at the food's labels. And the FSIS Meat, Poultry and Egg Product Inspection Directory [PDF] has information on the plants, including contact information.
Below are the plants (P18, P963, etc) tested in the report, and the percentages of the samples that were found to contain each of the five bacteria. You can see that P244 seems to have a bigger problem with staph aureus than the other plants:
Jennifer Welsh/Business Insider
Another recent study, done by the Center for
(Salmonella and E. coli, two of the bacteria analyzed in the ground turkey study, caused 1/3 of the illnesses documented in the second report.)
That report found that turkey products (not just ground turkey) had caused 130 outbreaks of foodborne illnesses in 12 years.
The American Poultry Association didn't respond to our request for a comment on the report.
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