HealthCheck

Consumer Reports find bacteria in pork tests

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Now Consumer Reports says there's another reason to take precautions in eating pork.

The group says more than two-thirds of the nearly 200 samples of pork chops and ground pork it tested had bacteria called yersinia enterocolitica. 100-thousand Americans get yersinia infections every year.

Jamie Kopf, of Consumer Reports, says, "This bug can cause fever and abdominal pain. And even more troubling - the vast majority of yersinia bacteria that we found were resistant to one or more commonly used antibiotics."

A few samples tested by Consumer Reports also had other bacteria, such as salmonella and staph. Some of those bacteria were also resistant to antibiotics.

"Antibiotic resistance is worrisome because it can lead to infections to humans that are more difficult to treat," says Kopf.

A second set of tests by Consumer Reports shows that about 20 per cent of 240 pork samples had traces of the drug ractopamine. It is used in pigs to promote growth and make meat lean.

Smithfield, a major pork producer, says ractopamine is "a safe and efective Food and Drug Administration approved feed supplement that has been widely used in the fog harming industry for many years."

Consumer Reports says the levels it found were well below the limits set by the FDA. But Consumers Union, an affiliated wing, believes it should be banned because there isn't enough evidence it is safe for humans.

Make sure you cook pork well, to an internal temperature of 145 degrees on a meat thermometer.

Consumers Union is pushing for more antibiotic-free meat to be available in supermarkets.

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