Tainted Turkeys

by Anne Bennett on May 2, 2013

Turkeys

Hey Mort, did you hear that we’re stuffed with bacteria? Who knew?

In its first-ever examination of ground turkey purchased at retail stores, Consumer Reports recently found that more than half the samples of raw ground turkey tested positive for fecal bacteria.

And there’s more: CR tested for five other forms of bacteria, and 90% of the turkey samples contained at least one of them, including salmonella and staphylococcus aureus, two of the leading causes of food borne illness in the U.S.

Oh, and let’s not stop there: almost all of the bacteria the CR scientists found were resistant to the antibiotics the turkey industry regularly uses to prevent contamination.

What does this mean to you, the would-be healthy ground turkey consumer? Here’s one possibility: if you become sick from eating tainted ground turkey, you may have to try several antibiotics in order to find one that will effectively kill those super-bug bacteria.

Despite these dire conclusions, you needn’t eschew turkey altogether. Consumer Reports suggests buying turkey that is labeled organic or “no antibiotics,” because birds raised under those conditions are much less resistant to antibiotics. Furthermore, CR advocates that the FDA ban the use of antibiotics in animals unless they are used to treat illness.

Always cook your ground turkey to 165 degrees and, to be sure, check it with an instant-read thermometer. Don’t forget to wash your hands and any surfaces touched by the raw meat.

Today I am putting chili in my slow cooker, but I am not making the turkey vegetable chili that’s on hungry poodle. No, for some reason I feel like going with this meatless Vegetable Chili.

Gee, I wonder why?

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