About 94 percent of Americans slice, cook, and eat meat daily. Recently, Translational Genomics Research Institute did a test in five large cities across the United States, testing chicken, turkey, beef, and pork. They found that 47 percent of meats tested contained staphylococcus aureus. This bacteria is a common cause of infections from skin rashes to life-threatening diseases like pneumonia.
The bacteria has always been in meat, but its resistance to antibiotics is rapidly growing.The bacteria has been found to be resistant to penicillin, tetracycline, and other antibiotics commonly prescribed to heal infections. Farmers give antibiotics to the livestock to make them grow big fast and to prevent them from becoming sick from the surrounding bacteria. This can be particularly dangerous because doctors will have to find new ways to cure infections caused by Staph.
The quality of meat found in grocery stores can have a major disadvantage to local farms due to the close quarters of the livestock. Bacterial risks skyrocket because of the daily dose of antibiotics, bacteria, and added warmth of the living situations.
The Food and Drug administration regularly checks for salmonella and other bacterias, but Staphylococcus aureus may be added to the list after this recent discovery. Consumers should pay special attention to expiration dates, handling, and cooking of raw meat. Most Staph can be killed by cooking meat at appropriate temperatures, but mishandling it is what can spread the bacteria. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has suggestions and information to avoid contamination of Staph.
Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/andreasivarsson/4901550691/