The most recent NARMS retail meat report stated 90 percent of pork chops, ground beef and ground turkey, and 95 percent of chicken breasts, were contaminated with fecal bacteria. Their results are based on tests of 5,280 samples. Eleven states bought about 40 samples each month, with 10 each of chicken breasts, ground turkey, ground beef, and pork chops. Each of the state labs ran tests for various bacteria in the meat samples.
Enterococcus isolates (both susceptible and resistant) were found on 95.4 percent of chicken breasts, 90.7 percent of ground turkey, 90.2 percent of ground beef, and 88.3 percent of pork chops. Nearly 78 percent of chicken breasts had E. coli, as did 80 percent of ground turkey, 58 percent of ground beef and 39 percent of pork chops.
There are 17 Enterococcus species but only a few cause clinical infections in humans.
One of the peculiar assumptions of carnism, the meat-eating belief system, is that it is healthy, but is eating fecal bacteria regularly a healthy practice?
Another fascinating bit of information is that burgers from fast-food restaurants sometimes don’t contain much that would normally be called meat: “researchers discovered waste and by-products including connective tissue, nerve tissue, cartilage, bone, and in a quarter of the samples, Sarcocystis parasites. But surely these fillers were the minority, right? Unfortunately not. After crunching the numbers, the researchers found that the amount of actual meat (muscle flesh) in the burgers ranged from 2.1 percent to 14.8 percent.” (Source: Huffington Post)
If many meat products contain fecal bacteria, and most consumers are unaware of this probability, and they are unaware of what they are eating when they purchase fast-food burgers and hot dogs, the main issue must be the lack of consumer awareness. Why would people eat things that don’t know anything about though?
Is it laziness, habit, groupthink, herd behavior, effects of mass media advertising, lack of culpability and transparency for food providers, or some combination of all of the above? The trend can clearly be described as unhealthy due to the prevalence of heart disease and obesity in America.
The NARMS retail meat surveillance program is a joint effort of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the health departments of 11 states. You can read the whole report on the FDA site.
Image Credit: J.M.Garg