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Are You Eating Tainted Meat?

Author Christina Houghton

On Friday, the Translational Genomics Research Institute released a study stating that the amount of bacteria in our meat products may be much more than previously believed.

Researchers found surprisingly high rates of Staphylococcus aureus, the bacteria that causes staph infections including skin infections, pneumonia and blood poisoning, in meat and poultry from United States grocery stores.

Bacteria in Most Meat

Researchers conducted the study involving 136 samples and 80 brands of beef, chicken, pork and turkey from 26 grocery stores in five cities: Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, Flagstaff, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

Researchers found that half of the meat and poultry samples, 47 percent, were contaminated with the bacteria and more than half of those bacteria findings, 52 percent, were resistant to at least three different stages of antibiotics.

Dr. Lance B. Price, senior author of the study, said, “For the first time, we know how much of our meat and poultry is contaminated with antibiotic-resistant Staph, and it is substantial.” Dr. Price also stated that these figures should bring attention to how antibiotics are used in food-animal production and how we can prevent antibiotic-resistant Staph from spreading.

Bacteria, Animals and Their Effect on Humans

Findings published in Clinical Infectious Disease, industrial farms, where food animals are given low doses of antibiotics “are ideal breeding grounds for drug-resistant bacteria to move from animals to humans.”

Dr. Price stated, “Antibiotics are the most important drugs in fighting Staph, but when certain strains of Staph, like findings in this study, are resistant to a multitude of antibiotics, it leaves physicians very few options.”

Most staph strains found in food are killed during the cooking process, but it may be prevalent if food is not handled properly or if cross-contamination occurs between various ingredients.

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