If you've switched from beef hamburgers to turkey burgers, you've taken steps to protect your health, right? Wrong! The truth is you may be putting your health at risk. That's because almost all turkey products contain harmful fecal bacteria. What's even worse is the routine use of antibiotics on turkey is leading to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Here's just how severe the problem is - and what you can do to protect yourself.
Researchers recently sampled a total of 257 different kinds of turkey products. They were dismayed to find that nearly 90% contained a form of dangerous bacteria. And half of the raw ground meat and patties packages sold at retail stories contained fecal bacteria. Some of these bacteria can cause food-borne illness, such as Salmonella and Staphyloccoccus aureus.
Not only did turkey test extremely high for bacteria contamination, it was also the most likely poultry to contain antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These can make food-borne illnesses much more difficult to treat. Dr. Urvashi Ragan, director of the food safety and sustainability group at Consumer Reports, said, "Our findings strongly suggest that there is a direct relationship between the routine use of antibiotics in animal production and increased antibiotic resistance in bacteria in ground turkey. It's very concerning that antibiotics fed to turkeys are creating resistance to antibiotics used in human medicine. Humans don't consume antibiotics every day to prevent disease, and neither should healthy animals."
As mass-production livestock facilities become more prevalent, virologists and bacteriologists are becoming increasingly worried about drug-resistant superbugs. As these bugs become more proficient at resisting available antibiotics, doctors believe they have few options left to treat what used to be easily eradicated diseases.
Of the turkey products studied, 60% contained E. coli and 80% were tainted with Enterococcus bacteria. More than half of the E. coli was antibiotic-resistant, and three samples even contained the potentially fatal MRSA bacteria.
While organic turkey does tend to contain just as much bacteria, it is at least less likely to be tainted with drug-resistant strains. Consumer Reports encouraged consumers to choose organic if they wanted to continue consuming turkey products. While food-borne illness reports have dropped over the past few years, it's still a problem, with more than one million people in the United States becoming ill from Salmonella alone every year. And with almost 90% of turkey products harboring dangerous bacteria, that number may begin to rise.
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In addition to consuming organic turkey products, you can help protect yourself by taking probiotics to help fight any pathogenic bacteria. Probiotics can help you avoid the need for taking antibiotics, which all too often leads to antibiotic resistance. You can order a high-quality probiotic by following this link.
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Dr. Janet Zand
Joseph Nordqvist. "Nearly 90% Of U.S. Turkey Products Contaminated." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 2 May. 2013.