What You Should Know Before You Grill — FDA Finds Meat Contaminated With Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria


The National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) tracks and assesses the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the nation’s foods and food-producing animals. The government department partners with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to control the spread of deadly superbugs through food, hospitals and the community.

Superbugs do not cause an ordinary episode of food poisoning. A person afflicted with food poisoning often recovers on her or his own or after a short round of antibiotics. But a person infected by an antibiotic-resistant bacteria has no line of medical defense. The CDC estimates that two million Americans become ill from antibiotic-resistant bacteria and at least 23,000 die from the infections every year. To arrive at these figures, the CDC only counted cases in which sickness and death were directly tied to the superbug, meaning the rate of morbidity from deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria is likely much higher.

The FDA released NARMS Retail Meat Report, in which NARM researchers tested raw, unprocessed retail meats for the presence of Salmonella, Campylobacter, Enterococcus and E. coli. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria was found in:

  • 81 percent of ground turkey tested
  • 69 percent of pork chops tested
  • 55 percent of ground beef tested
  • 39 percent of chicken tested

These figures do not account for presence of treatable bacteria that might nonetheless cause food poisoning. These numbers represent only the most lethal type of pathogens — antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The FDA gives these suggestions for safer meat handling:

  • Wash your hands and surfaces regularly

  • Keep raw meats and other foods separate

  • Cook meat at the correct temperature

  • Refrigerate your food promptly

These actions can minimize the risk of antibiotic-resistant infection. However, taking these steps does not guarantee safety from the superbugs that likely contaminate your meats.


Topics:  CDC, FDA, Food Contamination, NARMS, USDA

Published In: Personal Injury Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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