Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Study Finds Bacteria In American Pork, Some Drug-Resistant

Consumer Reports has just published some bad news for pork lovers.

raw-pork

Photo: BBQ Junkie (Flickr)

To avoid food-borne illness, ensure meat is cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees for pork chops and 160 degrees for ground pork.

Rampant Contamination

A new Consumer Reports study has found an alarmingly high incidence of bacterial contamination in American ground pork and pork chops.

Yersinia enterocolitica — a bug that sickens some one hundred thousand people in the United States each year — was found in a whopping 69 percent of samples. Youngsters are particularly susceptible to Y. enterocoliticainfection, and account for most diagnoses. Symptoms include abdominal pain, fever and bloody diarrhea.

Staphylococcus, listeria, enterococcus and salmonella were also detected, including drug-resistant strains, which have evolved thanks to excessive use of antibiotics in swine farming.

Prevention

Short of abandoning pig derivatives altogether, there are a number of things you can do to avoid contracting pork-borne illnesses.

Using a meat thermometer to ensure meat is cooked thoroughly, hand washing, and keeping raw meat separate from fruits and veggies during preparation will lower risk significantly.

Consumers can also opt for certified organic pork or pork labeled “No Antibiotics Administered/USDA Process Verified” to ensure meat hasn’t been treated with antibiotics.

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Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Bloomington, Indiana. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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