Tuesday, April 19, 2011


On the whole, the meat-eating public in America seems to have taken the recent bad news rather well - that there is likely to be dangerous Staph bacteria in about half of the meat or poultry they buy. Although, I did notice more buyers at the fish than the meat counter today at my favorite store. Maybe just my imagination. (By the way, I bought fish for dinner - wild, not farmed and it was delicious).

But everyone seems to be forgetting all the other studies of bacteria in U.S. meat and poultry and acting as though this was the first time disease-causing bacteria - or, Staph, had been found. Such other research has usually concluded that the large majority of U.S. meat carries at least some disease-causing bacteria. And naturally, the industry has always questioned the findings - just as the American Meat Institute did this month.

For instance, take the study by Consumer Reports of bacteria in chicken in late 2006. The methodology used seems to be very similar to the most recently reported one: taking samples of raw poultry sold in stores. Except this study was larger and covered 23 states. It concluded that 83 percent of the 525 chickens it tested were infected with Salmonella enteritidis, Campylobacter jejeuni, Listeria monocytogenes - or, Staphylococcus aureus (the recent headliner) bacteria.

In other words, bacteria in your meat or poultry is nothing new. Some of these bacteria - or their toxins - are much more resistant to freezing and heat than others. To my mind, what was most frightening about the recent study's findings is not the percentage of meat found to contain Staph, but that such a high percentage of the Staph - which can produce toxins that aren't affected by cooking - are resistant to many antibiotics.



Anonymous said...

Hate to say it, but we will have forgo medium to rare cooked meats unless one enjoys being sick.

Anonymous said...

Ignorance is bliss. Eat up and hope for the best.