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60-Second Health

Get Ready to Gobble Drug-Resistant Bacteria

Many meat and poultry products probably carry drug-resistant bacteria before cooking. Katherine Harmon reports

Thanksgiving is just days away, a time to feast with family. And to avoid food-borne bacterial infections.

The National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, or NARMS, is a joint effort of the CDC, the FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Microbiologist Lance Price talked about NARMS data last month at the ScienceWriters2011 conference in Flagstaff:

“What’s the probability of not finding drug-resistant bacteria on your meat and poultry? So pork chops you have about a one-in-10 chance of NOT finding drug-resistant bacteria. And this is just based on four bacteria that NARMS tests for: campylobactor, salmonella, E. coli and Enterococcus. Ground beef, one in 20. Chicken breasts, less than a one-in-100 chance of not finding drug-resistant bacteria. And then ground turkey, forget it: less than a one in 300 chance. Pretty much every sample of ground turkey will have drug-resistant bacteria.”

So remember, if you buy ground turkey for meatballs or burgers once the whole bird is gone, cook it. Thoroughly.

—Katherine Harmon

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]   

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