Staph Found in Supermarket Meat: Top 5 Meat Safety Tips

Drug-resistant Staph was found in meat of  136 samples of meat and poultry sold in US.  Foodborne diseases cause about 76 million illnesses and 5,000 deaths each year. The Translational Genomics Research Institute research study suggests “Nearly half of the meat and poultry samples — 47 percent — were contaminated with S. aureus, and more than half of those bacteria — 52 percent — were resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics, according to the study published today in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.” If cooked at proper temperatures consumers should not be at risk, because the staph will be killed during the cooking process.

Animals bred for eating are kept in small quarters and fed low-dose antibiotics regularly. Low doses of antibiotics can create new bacteria strains which are resistent to the antibiotics. Hence the term, “superbug” which is super scary.

There may be one thing that most Democrats and Republicans can agree on: food safety. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which the President signed into law on January 4th, is potentially good news to everyone. While the FSMA will hopefully reduce contaminated food, we each need to do our parts. Read labels.  Look for antibiotic free, grass-fed and ideally Animal Welfare Approved. This standard, established by the Animal Welfare Institute (and third-party audited), is the most honorable of welfare standards.

Keep in mind these FYI Food Safety Tips:

  • Keep food out in the temperature danger zone (between 40 and 140 F) for the least amount of time possible, definitely less than two hours. This range provides an ideal temperature for bacteria to grow. Thaw foods in the refrigerator or microwave not the countertop.
  • Avoid cross-contamination: Raw meats should never come in direct or indirect contact with other foods. After cutting raw chicken, wash the knife with soap and hot water before cutting your zucchini. The same goes for the cutting board and your hands!
  • Use a thermometer when cooking meats, poultry, egg or seafood, and follow the USDA guidelines for ideal internal temperatures.
  • When in doubt, throw it out: If it smells kind of funny, be safe and toss it in the garbage. Your stomach will thank you.
  • Sun and Meat Don’t Mix: Consider your picnic table – meat, eggs, sprouts might go bad in the summer sun. Keep foods in the cooler and bring them out in small portions.

To learn more about food safety and the new meat label laws of 2012 click here.


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