According to a new Consumer Reports study that analyzed ground turkey purchased at retail store nationwide, more than one-half of the 257 samples tested were contaminated with fecal bacteria and “almost all” of the diseasecausing organisms “proved resistant to one or more of the antibiotics commonly used to fight them.”

The magazine tested both conventional meat and meat from birds that
were not fed antibiotics, and, although all were reportedly found to be
equally likely to contain the bacteria the magazine considered in its study,
bacteria on the antibiotic-free ground turkey “were much less likely to be

“Turkeys are given antibiotics to treat acute illness,” the report stated, “but healthy animals may also get drugs daily in their food and water to boost their rate of weight gain and to prevent disease.” This practice “is speeding the growth of drug-resistant superbugs, a serious health concern. People sickened by those bacteria might need to try several antibiotics before one succeeds.” Consumer Reports is urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to prohibit “all antibiotics in animal production except to treat illness.”

Meanwhile, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has issued a report titled “Risky Meat: A Field Guide to Meat & Poultry Safety” that examines 12 years of foodborne-illness outbreak data—over 1,700 outbreaks—and “ranks meat and poultry foods based on outbreak reports and the likelihood of hospitalizations associated with the pathogens most commonly reported in those foods.” According to the nonprofit group’s analysis, “chicken nuggets, ham, and sausage pose the lowest risk of foodborne illness.”

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.