I’m grossed out but not surprised.

In a study by the Arizona-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGRI)136 meat samples from 26 grocery stores in Illinois, Florida, California, Arizona and Washington D.C. were examined and analyzed for bacteria.

Much of the meat was found to be contaminated with high levels of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), which causes hundreds of thousands of infections in the United States every year, from skin infections to respiratory infections like pneumonia.

In 96 percent of the infected samples, the bacteria were resistant to at least one type of antibiotic, and 52 percent were resistant to three or more types. That’s really scary.

A spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration said that the agency was aware of the study findings and results of similar studies, and was working with the U.S. Agriculture Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the causes and effects.

Um, how about a messed up factory farming system? What about weak enforcement of food safety regulations ? Just a few thoughts…

While proper cooking and handling of meat can help prevent illness, it’s still a risk consumers need to be aware of. Aside from being conscious of killing bacteria in the meat itself, it’s also important to take measures to avoid contaminating the rest of the kitchen.

For those considering making the transition towards a plant-based diet, this and similar study findings can offer a little motivation for making your burgers out of lentils instead of ground beef or roasting some veggies instead of a chicken. While vegetarian foods are not immune, the chances of infection are significantly lower. You also miss out on all the antibiotics and chemicals in commercial meat.

Not willing to jump on the Meatless Monday bandwagon? Buy meat directly from a farmer who does not use antibiotics or hormones in their animals.

You can read more here.

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