Dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria has been found in ground turkey on U.S. grocery shelves across a variety of brands and stores located in 21 states, according to a report by a consumer watchdog organization.
Of the 257 samples of ground turkey tested, more than half were found to be positive for fecal bacteria and overall, 90 percent were contaminated with one or more types of disease-causing organisms, many of which proved resistant to one or more common antibiotics, Consumer Reports found.
The non-profit, independent product-testing organization said in the June issue of its magazine that the sampling marked the first time it had conducted a laboratory analysis of ground turkey, a popular consumer alternative to hamburger. It was alarmed by the results.
“Some bacteria that end up on ground turkey, including E. coli and staph aureus, can cause not only food poisoning but also urinary, bloodstream, and other infections,” said a Consumer Reports statement on its findings.
The group said it samples ground turkey from 27 different brands including major and store brands.
Turkeys, like other livestock in the United States, are commonly given repeated low doses of antibiotics in an effort to keep the animals healthy and help promote growth. But there has been growing concern that widespread use of antibiotics in animals that are not sick is speeding the development of antibiotic resistance.