Just when I thought I had found another good source of protein
Almost 70 Percent Of Pork In Stores Unsafe, Consumer Reports Says
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Ground pork contains more bacteria than whole meat
Beware when you head for the meat market: Consumer Reports yesterday announced that 69 percent of all raw pork samples tested were contaminated with the dangerous bacteria Yersinia enterocolitica. Product testers analyzed 198 samples of whole and ground pork and found them to contain the little-known bacteria, which causes fever and gastrointestinal illness with diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps.
Cases of infection by Yersinia enterocolitica are estimated to top 100,000 a year in the U.S., but experts say that for every case diagnosed, 120 more arenít reported, attributed to stomach flu or general food poisoning.
Creepiest of all, the study found that many of the bacteria found in the pork were resistant to multiple antibiotics, suggesting that current methods of protecting meat from bacterial contamination are insufficient to deal with evolving mutations.
The January 2013 Consumer Reports article article posited that low dose antibiotics used in pork feed may be ďaccelerating the growth of drug-resistant `superbugsí that threaten human health.Ē The Pork Producers Council immediately challenged the report on the basis of testing methods and small sample size.
A happy pig courtesy of PETA, which says pigs are rarely treated well.
Interestingly, only 4 percent of the samples tested positive for salmonella, the bacterial contaminant more people are familiar with. Three percent of the meats were contaminated with listeria, a toxin that can cause listeriosis, a serious, even fatal illness Iíve reported on in the past. Enterococcus bacteria were present in 11 percent of samples, with staphylococcus in 7 percent.
According to an analysis in Food Safety News, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the government agency responsible for food safety, responded to the report with this comment:Ē USDA will remain vigilant against emerging and evolving threats to the safety of Americaís supply of meat, poultry and processed egg products, and we will continue to work with the industry to ensure companies are following food safety procedures in addition to looking for new ways to strengthen the protection of public health.Ē
Currently, the USDAís baseline studies donít test for Yersinia. Hopefully that will change in the near future. Pork producers have already faced a major economic blow this fall, as feed prices have skyrocketed as the midwestern drought ruined the corn crop.
Trace Drug in Pork
Consumer Reports also found small amounts of ractopamine, a drug used to boost growth in pigs while leaving meat leaner, in more than one fifth of 240 samples tested. Ractopamine has been controversial for its potential effects on humans and is banned in much of the world, including Europe and China.
What to do: Cook pork thoroughly, using a meat thermometer to check that the interior of the meat reaches 145 degrees for whole pork, and 160 degrees for ground pork. Always lather and scrub your hands thoroughly after touching raw meat. Consumers Report recommends eating pork thatís certified organic or pork sold by Whole Foods. which has to come from producers who donít use antibiotics or ractopamine.http://www.forbes.com/sites/melaniehaiken/2012/11/28/almost-70-percent-of-pork-in-stores-unsafe-consumer-reports-says/