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Ground turkey: Not a safe bet

Turkeys are vulnerable to bacterial infection. (Nov. 3,

Turkeys are vulnerable to bacterial infection. (Nov. 3, 2011) Credit: Jordan Gibbons

Think ground turkey is a healthful alternative to other ground meats? It may have less fat than some beef and pork, but it may also be a hotbed of bacterial contamination.

For an eye-opening investigative article that just went up on its website, Consumer Reports studied 257 samples of raw ground turkey and patties purchased at retail stores nationwide and found that more than half tested positive for fecal bacteria. “Overall,” the article said, “90 percent of the samples had one or more of the five bacteria for which we tested.”

Even worse, almost all the bacteria “proved resistant to one or more of the antibiotics commonly used to fight them.”

Farm animals are routinely given antibiotics to treat illness, and conventionally raised (i.e. not organic) animals are often given antibiotics in their daily food and/or water just to help them gain weight and stay healthy. More than 70 percent of antibiotics in the U.S. are administered to animals, not humans and this “over-prescription” has led to strains of superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics.

To minimize the risk from ground turkey, Consumer Reports suggests buying turkey labeled “organic” or “no antibiotics,” storing it at 40 degrees or below, cooking it to at least 165 degrees, and washing hands and all surfaces after handling ground turkey.

Click here to read the complete article.

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