Staph seen in nearly half of U.S. meat
April 15th, 2011
10:00 AM ET
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Almost half of the meat and poultry sold at U.S. supermarkets and grocery stores contains a type of bacteria that is potentially harmful to humans, a new study estimates.

Researchers tested 136 packages of chicken, turkey, pork, and ground beef purchased at 26 grocery stores in five cities around the country, and found that 47 percent contained Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), a common cause of infection in people.

What's more, roughly half of the contaminated samples contained strains of the bacteria that were resistant to at least three antibiotics, such as penicillin and tetracycline. Some strains were resistant to a half dozen or more.

Get the rest of the story at CNN Health and read more about tainted food and recalled products

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Filed under: Health News • Meat • Recalls • Tainted Food


soundoff (769 Responses)
  1. Mrs. G

    This is a timely article. Last night night I opened a package of chicken breasts and they smelled AWFUL. They hadn't expired yet, but they were definitely not good. I threw them away, even though I briefly considered cooking them and eating them anyway...since it's not like you eat rare chicken and fully cooking them would kill bacteria anyway (I hate wasting food...). But the thought of that just grossed me out. There are probably enough bacteria in chicken breasts that smell normal; to think that there was enough that they smelled rank is icky. No thanks.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • AleeD From Home Sweet Home

      Respectfully, next time that happens, rewrap them securely, put them in the freezer and take them back to wherever you bought them and get your money back. If they give you any lip, stop shopping there.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  2. bezerkur

    its amazing how humans even got this far. if we were so fragile i think we would b all dead by now. if ur that freaked out then i suggest u have a shot or two of Jack after u eat.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  3. P&P FARM

    I can speak for both sides of the fence. I run a large processing plant and we take daily measures to ensure that all finished product is safe for consumption. It does fall on the consumer to prepare it properly by following our stated instructions. Then I own a small farm where I raise and sell natural beef products. I can tell you, the "factory" side is much more regulated and tested than the local guy! I have an onsite USDA inspector and a micro lab that does testing 7 days a week. I don't have either on my farm! Just live life and stop worrying about everything! If it taste good it's bad! The chicken guys say pork is bad and the pork guys say chicken is bad! It's who ever is paying the best lobbyist and marketing group at that particular time!

    April 15, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • CH

      @P&P, and you do you personally trust that system of inspection? I seem to remember a number of high-profile, massive meat recalls in recent years. What's needed is not more regulation or inspection—it's transparency. We need more trustworthy relationships between producer and consumer, not government lackeys with checklists, clipboards and funny hats.

      April 15, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  4. Brian

    This article is completely worthless because it provides information (i.e., there's staph bacteria in packaged meat) but not a shred of analysis or explanation of what that means for the reader.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  5. Gabriel Paredes

    Most everyone is missing the large problem... Yes we all have bacteria all over, but the really horrible stuff we're not around as much, or our bodies can kill it easy. The issue is with MRSA, which has developed so fast that our immune systems are not as good at killing it off; dont get me wrong, it can kill it, but your immune system better be strong. MRSA is most dangerous because it can "hang out"... Sit in your nose or on your skin without attacking you. That's true until you get a hard cold and are served antibiotics for the cold.... The antibiotics you get from the doctor will likely kill all the bacteria that helps keep MRSA in check. Once this happens MRSA becomes very aggressive. Many many people who dyed from the Swine flu in the US, dyed from secondary infections caused by MRSA, which probably was already on their body, and not from the hospitals. From now on when a doctor says the problem with super bugs is related to doctors prescribing too many antibiotics, I will bring up the fact that the meat industry is probably mostly to blame.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • Sunny

      I personally have started trying to stick with meats that are raised antibiotic and hormone free, grass feed, and as free range as possible! It is more expensive to purchase, thus, I'm eating less meat probably because of that, but it IS better for you in the long run. No only does eating meat loaded with antibiotics and hormones over time cause antibiotics to become less effective in your system over time, it can mess up your natural hormone balance and cause things such as difficulty losing weight, fatigue, lowered immune system, headaches, etc. I have been eating as natural as possible for just over a month now, and I have noticed a significant difference...my PMDD symptoms have become much milder, I sleep better at night (had terrible insomnia before), I have less digestive issues (gas, constipation, etc.), my skin is clearing up (I'm 38 and have had to deal with acne since I was 10), my asthma problems have gone away, etc. Thank goodness that penicillin still works with me...only antibiotic that has ever worked whenever I get a respiratory or ear infection. Like I said, it is a little more expensive, but it is so much better for the body in general to eat only naturally raised meet. Sure, the bacterias may still be in some of this stuff, but from what I've read above, it is mostly the antibiotic/hormone injected animals being fed engineered feed that are raised in close quarters that have the worst bacteria counts. Just think, if all of these preservatives, dyes, hormones, etc. cause all these problems in humans because the body doesn't know what to do with all these man-made substances, don't you think they do the same thing to the animals? These animals could probably fight the bacteria in their systems better if they weren't "engineered"!

      April 15, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  6. rex

    Almost half of the meat and poultry sold ...contains a type of bacteria that is potentially harmful to humans, a new study estimates. Estimates, ESTIMATES. What kind of study provides an estimate ? And what kind of writer would provide such a story that has such narrow substaniation of the facts. WOW. Yellow journalism

    April 15, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  7. Boka

    Meat takes 3 days to digest. That means there is rotting flesh in your body as you walk around, work, sleep for 72 hrs!

    April 15, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • Mare

      And it's so yummy! How about a dinner of chicken wings for the app, bacon wrapped scallops and a nice steak for the main course, and can't forget the bacon and chocolate cupcake!

      April 15, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • RichardHead@Boka

      So your saying you wear Depends and smell like poop for 72 hrs?

      April 15, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Snowbunny

      Nothin' like a greasy cheeseburger and a nice long nap!

      April 15, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • AleeD From Home Sweet Home@Boka

      It takes 48 hours for ANY food to pass thru the average human body. If it takes your body 72 hours, maybe to combat your anal retentive qualities, you should have an stfu colonic.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • CH

      I say we cook and eat Boka. Apparently he/she is grass-fed AND grain-finished.

      April 15, 2011 at 11:02 am |
      • MalaDee@CH

        Good idea about cooking him/her up. But I have this funny feeling that the flavor would be bitter, tasteless and unfulfilling.

        April 15, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Lobbyistgrl

      Not only are you Vegan (which sucks, I feel sorry for you), but you also must have a thing for zombies because you keep talking about rotting flesh. I like my rotting flesh with extra CHEESE please!

      April 15, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  8. tedco

    Switched at the beginning of the year to buying local grown beef. Grass fed,never ANY shots of any sort Limousin beef.
    It is a much leaner type of beef that may take a little adjusting to your grilling methods. Simple procedure. Buy a chest freezer ($100-150) plenty big enough for a 1/4 steer. I started by buying a 1/8 steer and realized how much I like the beef and peace of mind of grass fed hormone free beef. Just do it now, you will never go back to store bought corn fed beef.
    Supporting the small cattle farmer makes way more sense too.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • Hey You

      If the cattle you are eating have never received any vaccines not only is that cruel but ILLEGAL. At the very least cattle are illegal required to receive brucellosis vaccines. Brucellosis IS zoonotic by the way, enjoy your miscarriages.

      April 15, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
      • What?

        I don't know where you got your information, but unless things have changed in the last few years, it is not MANDATORY that cattle be given brucellosis vaccinations. Maybe where you live, but not across the entire U.S. That's just plain wrong.

        April 15, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  9. Boka

    Think about this – people feed cows grain instead of grass, pump the cows full of hormones and antibiotics. The cows are chopped up into chunks. People eat that and then hit the gym to get healthy. Weird people. Just go Vegan. And stop driving that gas fueled car please.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • Snowbunny

      I sure could go for some Prime Rib! MMMMM

      April 15, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Mare

      LOL Bunny – I'll drive! I'll even borrow a friends Hummer H2. I get great gas mileage – 9 MPG!!!!!

      April 15, 2011 at 10:18 am |
      • Boka

        When you bought your Hummer did you stare at the ground and yell "Take that planet earth! You're my B@tch!

        April 15, 2011 at 10:31 am |
      • Mare@Boka

        Can you not read? What part of the sentence "I'll even borrow a friends Hummer H2" doesn't make sense to you?

        Your vegan brain needs some meat so you can process the English language!

        April 15, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • MalaDee@Boka

      "People eat that and then hit the gym to get healthy. Weird people. Just go Vegan"

      Soooooooooooo vegans don't have to exercise because they don't eat meat? Interesting.

      April 15, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • JBJingles@Boka

      How about the stores that sell the following meat? There are alternatives to factory farms you know.
      – Humanely Raised on Sustainable U.S. Farms and Ranches
      – Never Given Antibiotics – Ever
      – Never Given Any Added Hormones – Ever
      – Fed All Vegetarian Feeds

      April 15, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • Tdog

      Boka, you seem to make too many incorrect all inclusive assumptions about what other people do. You also appear to be somewhat of a close minded, flighty person suffering from protein starvation. Come back to the Earth you voiferate to love so much and have a free-range grass fed cheese burger. Your body WILL know what to do with it.

      April 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  10. pwnm

    Meat is dead flesh, always has been and always will be. Just cook it and handle it properly and there will be no problem. There have been just as many problems with vegetables over the past few years, remember the spinach recall etc.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:09 am |
  11. Jay

    Let's face it, these stories are only produced as filler to satisfy our 24/7 news cycle.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:08 am |
  12. cethington21

    Turns out, that's why people cook meat before eating it. Weird, I know. And the bugs wouldn't be antibiotic resistant already if we wouldn't just carpet bomb meat stocks with antibiotic treatment before it's sold. If you've ever heard of MRSA, that comes about the same way.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • What?

      "And the bugs wouldn't be antibiotic resistant already if we wouldn't just carpet bomb meat stocks with antibiotic treatment before it's sold."

      You don't have a clue what you're talking about. Not only is "carpet bombing . . . before it's sold" not done – it's illegal.

      April 15, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  13. Boka

    Good thing I'm vegan. This stuff will kill you.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Snowbunny

      Get off your soapbox, moron.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • AleeD From Home Sweet Home

      Feel free to post on a vegan site then. Troll along now.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:37 am |
      • Boka

        I'm a troll because my opinion differs from yours? You are so american.

        April 15, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • AleeD From Home Sweet Home@Boka

      No, you're a troll because you're inciting responses to all the ignorant comments you've posted on this thread.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • chefshack

      Staphylococuss aureus does not live in meat alone!
      Besides it is the toxin that is produced when this bacteria grows that makes us ill.
      Proper food handling of ALL food is the only way to avoid this toxin.

      April 16, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  14. Jay

    Everyone is colonized with Staph on their skin. Staph consumed with food is not pathogenic as stomach acid would easily kill the bacteria. What is the bacteria that was resistant. Those antibiotics mentioned may not be intended to kill the bacteria mentioned and the use of resistance in that case is wrong. Bacteria are everywhere and are part of our life. Do you really expect food to be completely devoid of germs?

    April 15, 2011 at 10:06 am |
  15. Fallowt

    Assume that there is bacteria in all the meat you buy, and cook the living Christ out of it. Problems happen due to insufficient cooking.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:04 am |
  16. Programmr

    Cook the meat correctly and the bacteria will be killed.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  17. Ryan Seacrest

    I wonder if my sausage has bateria? Afetr all, it's been up every guys poop shoot.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Ryan Seacrest

      *bacteria* trying to slap the money and type at the same time!

      April 15, 2011 at 10:03 am |
      • seriously

        dud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        April 15, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  18. j

    people. bacteria is everywhere, on your skin, in your mouth, on meat. that's why you should... oh i don't know... cook it?

    April 15, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  19. Scott

    Truth: Bacteria lives on every piece of meat you eat.

    Truth: People eat bacteria that is potentially harmful to them every day; in sufficient quantities.

    Missing data from story: Was the bacteria found in sufficient quantity to be a problem (as it is not mentioned; one can make a reasonable guess that it was not).

    This is like saying "90% of people are exposed to sunlight, which can potentially cause cancer!!!"

    It's a complete and utter non-story. CNN ought to be ashamed of themselves for even taking the time to write it. It is clearly intended to be an alarmist attention getter of a story around what really amounts to nothing.

    I wonder if the author went to college to study journalism knowing they would write fluff like this.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:57 am |
  20. Mookie

    I say if cooked to the proper temp, handled with due caution, and purchased from a responsible butcher, your risks are indeed minimized. Heck, I still eat my eggs "sunny side up" and enjoy pork on a regular basis. Scare tactics have little or no impact on my eating habits, except the "peanut paste" issue a year or so ago, can't cook those to kill off bugs.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:56 am |
  21. Lee

    Since when is it news that bacteria are on meat...bacteria are everywhere. Just prepare it properly, and you'll be fine.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:54 am |
  22. Russell

    Luckly I cook my meat so this article does not apply to me.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • Fallowt

      Exactly, just cook it properly.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:05 am |
  23. Mike

    It's great how the media attempts to munipulate. This isn't even news is it? There's bacteria in everything. I agree with Larry. I wonder what your toothbrush would look like.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  24. Ginny

    I feel this picture is highly deceiving. Someone is tryig to make organic look bad. The picture is of an organic piece of beef. The article mentions ground beef, not regular beef. Nothing was mentioned of organics. This picture is irresponsible and leading the passerby to suspect organic, I wish I knew who to complain to.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • seriously

      honest to g-d......its just a picture......does the CNN actually have to check each picture to make sure it fits the article...its a damn article about meant and bacterial contamination....so they put up a picture of meat in the supermarket. I looked at the picture, i didn't study it....i didn't even notice the label on the meat said organic.....don't you effin hippies have anything better to do.....Now i am off to BK to get me a triple angus burger....RUH!!!!!

      April 15, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  25. shocking

    Wow. Just shocking. Meat has bacteria. Come on people, why do you think you wash your hands after touching raw meat and wipe your counters down? Because of the BACTERIA! Is this story supposed to be new? I assumed when I handled raw chicken that it had bacteria on it that needed to be cooked away. That's why chicken taretare never truly caught on and why they have these fancy little gadgets called meat thermometers that tell you when meat is safe to eat and all the harmful BACTERIA are killed. I'm more shocked that only half the meat tested positive for it.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  26. Buddha1312

    Ummmmm...cuz im a vegetarian for animal rights and harmful things u know.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  27. Larry

    They've found bacteria in Antarctica, so why should any of us be surprised that there are bacteria living in meat? I may have the opposite opinion, but if bacteria aren't on the stuff, you probably shouldn't eat it as it's probably super toxic!!!

    April 15, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  28. BestintheWest

    Eat at Taco Bell. No meat there. ;)

    April 15, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • Sinister Sister

      Bah-ha-ha-ha!

      April 15, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  29. Dewey

    I'm fortunate to be able to raise my own meat. Beef, lamb and chickens along with a huge variety of fruits and veggies.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • Larry

      Guarantee your meat has bacteria on it as well as your veggies. You can't get rid of them, no matter how clear your process is.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • John Holmes

      Lots of women want my meat.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:57 am |
  30. Wasabi

    Im surprised the % is act5ually that low, this is why we ya know cook food....

    April 15, 2011 at 9:43 am |
  31. ReadBetweenLines

    By choosing the picture with the organic label, do you mean to imply that half of organically labelled meat is contaminated? Did the study make a distinction or is this simply misleading?

    April 15, 2011 at 9:42 am |
  32. Fools

    I love how whenever some study comes out about meat and *POSSIBLE* dangers associated with it, the drones come out in masses defending their love of meat and why it is safe. Nobody was attacking your choice to eat it, just cook the stuff properly and be aware that if an antibiotic resistant strain of bacteria DOES get passed to you due to some freak accident, then be prepared to die because if the penecilin didn't work on it before, it won't work when your guts are melting from the inside out.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • kristin

      people do get defensive about their addictions, even knowing that factory farms are filthy and horribly cruel. i often feel like i am amongst the stepford wives. it's mind boggling.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:16 am |
      • Mike

        Or you could make educated choices and purchase locally from farmers/butchers who you know don't cruelly treat/kill their animals? That's a possibility too. Or maybe you are from PETA, and animals should have more rights than other human beings....

        April 15, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Thersa

      Thank you! Why are people even on CNN if they are so hostile to even hearing there are precautions they have the OPTION of taking if they so choose? I don't see any fear mongering in this article. What is with this aggressive ignorance that has taken over this country?

      April 15, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  33. Jeff

    Another fun fact: S. aureus is a resident flora in a majority of people's anterior nares (your nostrils)! People aren't getting Staph infections or MRSA everytime someone sneezes or picks their nose, and they're certainly not getting sick from eating meat with, *GASP* bacteria on it!

    April 15, 2011 at 9:40 am |
  34. RichardHead

    I Always Beat my Meat before putting it on the grill..Scares the BeJesus out of them Bacteria!!!

    April 15, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • AleeD@RichardHead

      We learned about THOSE emoticons yesterday. Funny stuff – just like your comments! ;)

      April 15, 2011 at 9:56 am |
  35. tonyS

    Well, DUH. Just like we have bacteria in our bodies that could be harmful to us. That's why we COOK meat before we eat it.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:38 am |
  36. Opie

    Uhm, aren't we supposed to exposed to some pathogens? Isn't that sort of how our immune system works? Besides, cooking meat properly eradicates the problem.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  37. Rick

    No kidding there's bacteria in the meat, RETARDS! That's why meat is COOKED before consumption! "This just in! Showering with power tools may be hazardous to your health and welfare!" No. Kidding.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  38. Joe citizen abroad

    Now, let's test how much bacteria is on the hands of the ordinary people who are preparing or consuming their meat. Just picked up the phone? Just touched the remote control? Just dried your hands on day-old dish towel (or your pants)? Just pulled your groceries out of a cloth shopping bag that you haven't washed...ever? Congratulations. You have more bacteria on you than in the meat you're consuming.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • MalaDee@Joe citizen abroad

      Ahhhh, a voice of reason. Thanks for being a refreshing change.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:54 am |
  39. unretired05

    Why don't they tell you you won't need antibiotics if you cook it properly. The resistant strains were probably developed because the animal feed included antibiotics whether the animals needed it or not.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:35 am |
  40. NODAT1

    Bacteria will always be present on on dead flesh. Proper handling of the meat in the kitchen and correct cooking methods will take of the bacteria.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • Please Read

      It is also on all LIVE flesh.

      April 15, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  41. Todd

    Scare mongering again? *Shocking*... what's the matter CNN, did McDonalds not sign up to advertise on your website and take their billions of dollars to a more crediable news source?

    April 15, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • MalaDee@Todd

      Aw honey, don't be scared. The only reason to fear a story any news agence puts out is because you aren't well informed. Go get informed – you'll feel SO much better. ^_^

      April 15, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • Sue

      You must see Super Size me to fuly appreciate how they make the fast food burgers and "nuggests" Extruded, centrifuged, crushed bone and all. Yumm.

      April 15, 2011 at 11:10 am |
  42. buysellwwii

    yuck! ck out this site buyandsellwwii dot com i think you will like it

    April 15, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  43. Tim

    Does CNN report any positive news?
    Headline:
    53% of meat in America is bacteria free:]

    April 15, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • MalaDee@CNN

      There's no reason to pick on CNN. Any news media is going to pick up a story they think will draw in readers. It's their job.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:50 am |
      • MalaDee@Tim

        s/b @Tim, not CNN

        April 15, 2011 at 9:50 am |
  44. Chris

    how bout telling us what 26 stores CNN

    April 15, 2011 at 9:26 am |
  45. Ray

    I love how the picture they use is of meat with a certified organic label on it. Factory farms are the problem but CNN never misses an opportunity to mislead Americans into thinking that sustainable farming is the problem. Nice try CNN. Why not show a picture of conditions at a large meat processing plant to make a real connection to the bacteria problem.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:26 am |
    • Cynically Dubious

      Well put Ray. This article is an expurgated version of another one in their health section. I have an issue with what seems to be a small sampling size accurately representing the larger population of meat sold to the consumer. It is telling though, if you read the original article, that finding such resistant strains strongly implicates the results of factory farm practices with regard to their handling. I’d be interested in seeing how many of their tainted samples were that of non-factory farm sources but cynically I doubt they made such notes as to the purported source from the retail labels due to the threat of litigation for publishing their findings. Here, everyone can hide and claim ‘ours is safe it must be the other guy’.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • bacos

      From the Organic Trade Association:

      'A University of Minnesota study concerning fecal E. coli in fresh picked produce by Mukherjee et al, published in the Journal of Food Protection (Vo. 67, No. 5, 2004), found that the percentage of E. coli prevalence in certified organic produce was similar to that in conventional samples. However, it did find a marked difference in the prevalence of E. coli between the samples from certified and non-certified organic farms. “Ours is the first study that suggests a potential association between organic certification and reduced E. coli prevalence,” the authors wrote. They noted that the results of the study “do not support allegations that organic produce poses a substantially greater risk of pathogen contamination than does conventional produce.”'

      Basically, as far as the bacteria is concerned, there isn't really any difference. Studies suggest that there is no added risk of bacteria, nor a statistically significant reduction. Also, whether conventional farming WAS resposible for the creation of certain resistant strains or not, they are not confined there and can be found in both organic and non-organic produce and meat.

      I'll agree that their choice of stock photo was odd, though.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:17 am |
      • Sue

        In terms of antibiotic resistant bugs though, did they actually find the same percentage in organic meat? I would think that would be caused by the massive feeding of antibiotics that feedlots do to their cows, which doesn't happen under Organic requlations. So bugs are one thing, but med resistant ones are factory farm specific.

        April 15, 2011 at 11:09 am |
      • bacos

        Sue,

        As far as I know there has not been any studies done to compare percentages of resistant vs. non-resistant between organic and non-organic.

        A lot of proponents of organic do claim that that is the case, but there has not been any conclusive studies done as far as I know, just studies that say they are present.

        April 15, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
      • Cynically Dubious

        I think it is improper to offer conjecture that would suggest that a single study, which I thank you for referencing (I have provided a link for others), would be sufficient to imply that such accounts on produce (fresh fruits and vegetables )must also hold true for meat products. There are too few of studies about this to rationally debate any links or parallels at this time. http://www.solvita.com/pdf-files/Mukherjee-2004.pdf

        I would hypothesize that the fertilizer used, particularly manure, if not also sought from certified organic origins might be how and why resilient strains of bacteria might still occasionally appear in the organic produce lineup. The term ‘handling’ really needs to explicitly address not just how things are done at the farm in question but encompass the sources of the consumable material used by the farm as well.

        Rather than rage on organic vs. factory farmed it might be a far more useful to have an article delve into the entire food handling process and examine cross contamination potentials a given product is exposed to from source to dinner plate.

        April 15, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
      • bacos

        Cynically Dubious,

        Er... I'm quite interested in how you see me as raging against organic. If anything I said exactly what you said, there haven't been enough reputable studies to show one way or another. Thus, the OP was out of line with his comment using a blanket statement against non-organic farming when in reality these bacteria (yes, even those with mutations that make them less susceptible to certain antibiotics) are a natural occurance. Now, whether the ratio of resistant to non-resistant strains is different between the farming methods, I have no idea.

        In fact, YOU are the one conjecturing by trying to blame things for bacterial contamination when all I said is that the bacteria can be found on organic items as well (it would be highly unnatural for there it to NOT be there).

        I say we irradiate it if we're concerned.

        April 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Al

      I think it is a bit more sinister than it looks. They are building up to some sort of new regulation on organic products and need to swing some opinion. The 'organic' label is more by design than than by chance.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  46. Jim De

    All you have to do is prepare it properly....just cook it and wash your hands.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • chefshack

      No thats wash your hands then cook it LOL!

      April 16, 2011 at 9:35 am |
  47. Gary

    Eat meat from local free range, grass fed farms. Don't eat meat from factory farms.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • Sandy

      YES! Raise your own beef if possible or use your local farmers/butcher shops!

      April 15, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • bam

      because they are regulated and wouldn't have any of these issues......
      oh wait u just wanted to say free range I get it. how often is your local farm tested for bovine? oh yeah they aren't.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:49 am |
      • Dave

        My local farms are tested for bovine quite frequently. You just drive by and see if there are cows in the field.

        April 17, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Fantastico

      I just made the switch to buy in bulk from local farmers. Corn fed meat has 6x the saturated fat and far less of key nutrients. Local beef also doesn't go through a big commercial slaughterhouse shared by millions of dung covered cattle (no e. coli!). It is sustainable, supports small American farmers, and a benefit to your health. I paid 6$ a pound for 200 pounds of assorted cuts, so I've got a deep freeze full for the next year!

      April 15, 2011 at 9:51 am |
      • RAD

        Where do you get yours? We have farms here in MI and I get it for $4.78/lb...

        April 15, 2011 at 10:05 am |
      • Mel

        That's highway robbery. We have never paid more than $2.50 per pound for ours (including processing).

        April 15, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Free Ranger

      DUH! of course meat has bacteria! So does local meat! Who wrote this stupid article? Do you really think that meat will ever be bacteria-free? And are you so stupid as to think I will buy meat and inject it with some antibiotic? What a ridiculous scare tactic. This is not news, it's cheap drama for the uninformed.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Sue

      Exactly. Burgers from stores are especially bad - read up on how they combine, bleach, transport, centrifuge, etc. different sourced meat of different ages that eventually become your Angus burger. The only way to know what you are eating and how old it really is is to get it from a free range, LOCAL farm that you can visit. Meat shares are not that expensive unless you plan to gorge on flesh all day.

      April 15, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • beelzebubba

      I hear vegetarians are tasty. Haven't tried them yet though.

      April 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  48. Beavis2084

    Funny how there is no mention of how it was all within normal levels and that it is the reason they label everything with preparation warnings and guidance.

    It's not a problem.

    April 15, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • Meat Girl

      Hmmmm... 1/2 of the meat is "dangerous", yet no one is actually getting sick. Time to redefine the term "dangerous"?

      April 15, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • Say what?

      There are no "normal" levels of harmful, antibiotic resistant bacteria in anything. Simply by the fact that they are so resistant means that they have evolved beyond your normal run of the mill bacteria. If they are resistant to antibiotics before they reach you, what happens when they get transmitted to you? You'll be the one who is well done, son.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:39 am |
      • Industrial Microbiologist, PhD

        There is no type of QC for hamburger or poultry, which is why we COOK these meats well. I would be more worried about enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli in hamburger meat, not S. aureus. I can isolate Staphylococcus aureus on vegetables sitting in the grocery store or on someone's T-shirt, and yes, including antibiotic resistant strains. The only people who should be worried are the immunocompromised and people who leave old food on the counter for days (enterotoxin and food poisoning). Amateur journalists should not read scholarly peer reviewed research journals.

        April 15, 2011 at 11:52 am |
      • Daz

        I feel a new M Night Shymalan movie coming on......

        April 15, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • bam

      no it is time for the author ti EXPLAIN why it is not DANGEROUS when prepared CORRECTLY.
      very poor journalism, is this FOX or something? fear mongering?

      April 15, 2011 at 9:48 am |
      • George Babbaganoosh

        Nowhere in the article does it mention "dangerous." It simply states what was found. Common sense would lead the average reader to come to the conclusion that proper cooking is needed. However, this being CNN, the common reader has no common sense so excuse while I beat my head against a brick wall, it will serve a much better purpose than trying to speak with y'all.

        April 15, 2011 at 10:02 am |
      • Teri

        The article is on the CNN page, not Fox, you idiot!

        April 15, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • Al

      Also notice how they used 26 out of the 228 769 existing stores to decide that half the meat in the country is dangerous to eat.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  49. AleeD from Home Sweet Home

    I just don't care; bring on the meat. If it's my time, there's not a thing I can do about it. There are so many other things in the world to concern myself with, why add to my stress about something like this?

    April 15, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • Mare@Alee

      Exactly – we are all going to die anyway, so might as well enjoy it.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • steve

      "I walk in front of moving cars on the street without looking, I don't care, if it's my time I'll just die."

      April 15, 2011 at 10:21 am |
      • Trevor

        That's the spirit!

        April 15, 2011 at 11:12 am |
      • Unencumbered by facts

        Yabbut, what if you're on an airplane, and it's the guy NEXT TO YOU's turn to die?
        :)

        April 15, 2011 at 11:31 am |
      • AleeD From Home Sweet Home@steve

        Good. You'll do us all a favor by getting hit by a car. Thanks.

        Oh look! Here comes one now! Run! You don't want to miss your moment.

        April 15, 2011 at 11:37 am |
      • seraphim0

        Aleed... are you truly that dense? The exact same thing could be said to you about your non-chalant attitude toward possible staph infection from contaminated meat. He was saying it to be sarcastic about your post.

        Pot. Kettle. Enjoy the company.

        April 15, 2011 at 11:47 am |
      • beelzebubba

        RE: "Yabbut, what if you're on an airplane, and it's the guy NEXT TO YOU's turn to die?"
        Since all disasters, including plane crashes, are gaaaaaaaawds retribution for transgressors, the innocent are always spared. That's right, Jeeeeezus actually approves the boarding passes on all planes that are fated to crash.

        April 15, 2011 at 11:57 am |
      • Debbie Stallard Sheegog

        Well that is just inciting people to write you. Of course, ultimately, we all will die when God decides. But why eat, consume, promote, anything that should be exposed as a possible health threat; imagine if you had young children? Or maybe someone you love that is at higher risk and more susceptible to any kind of bacteria, which shouldn't be there in the first place, is exposed? You might not be so "flip", i. e. don't give a f... Buy local, know where your food comes from when it is possible. Namaste.

        April 16, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Hmm

      If this is how you feel please don't use any medicine ever... There are some of us working to make a better world, for me not eating meat has been one of them, partially because of this crap, but mainly because of the way they are raised, processed, and the damage to the environment. Really do some research for once, get educated. Not only have we had E Coli outbreaks in meat(i dont know how when that stuff is processed with ammonia) but also now in vegetables.. don't you wonder why that is? Also maybe check out some documentaries like Food Inc, watch the people who have to make a decision on eating healthy or going to the doctor and getting drugs.. hmm.. tough choice. Eat healthy, you will be less stressed, happier, skinnier, etc.. please do us all a favor and get educated and slow down on the meat consumption

      April 15, 2011 at 11:19 am |
      • TwM

        Ahh A veg-head responds. You realize your Veggies are just as likely to have bacteria as meat does. Fertilizers, acid rain, etc. Meat is not bad for you. If you eat veg only you have to take so many supplements (man made vitamins aka chemicals) to help you live its just plain silly. As for the treatment f the animals, WHO CARES they are meant to be food nothing else. They were bred to be just what they are.

        April 15, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
      • TwM

        Also w have had ecoli break outs in Spinach. lettuce etc.

        April 15, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
      • rkt210

        I believe one of our largest E coli breakouts was traced to spinach. Do we switch to eating rocks now?

        April 15, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
      • Brad

        First off, if you would learn to read, you would see he said to slow down on consumption of meat, not stop. Also, ecoli comes from feces, something plants do not produce. So, either animals going bye cotaminated it, or so illegal processing them didn't wash their hands after wiping their butt. Anything and everything we eat is full of bacteria, so just eat as healthy as you can, take some precations like washing your food with water, and enjoy life, oh, and learn to read you dumb a s ses

        April 15, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
      • Jordan

        We just learned in my Biochem course last year that E.Coli can crawl through the soma on spinach leaves, meaning washing them does nothing. Enjoy eating all the spinach.

        April 15, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
      • Debbie Stallard Sheegog

        I couldn't have phrased this better myself, so, thank you for writing the perfect bit here; I still cannot believe people live under rocks or in caves somewhere, thinking they don't need to read and educate themselves. I guess the prices at Walmart are just too good. Good, yeah, luck! <3

        April 16, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Thomas

      Huh? So if your water supplier provided drinking water tainted with fecal matter you'd drink it just because you have to die from something someday? This is exactly why we should be irradiating our produce, meat and poultry like they do in at least some European countries. I'm an American living in Italy and haven't seen this problem in all the years I've been here. So why won't US producers do this?? It's cheaper but clearly not more effective to wash our foods with bleach. The cheaper methods our producers employ only clean the surfaces they touch and not contaminated parts say under the skin or internally. Now when the world steps up banning US meat products, and US exports nose dive, Congress will be forced to address what the FDA has failed to do thus far.

      April 15, 2011 at 11:55 am |
      • beelzebubba

        Ironically, the same people who think all dangers should be expunged from life, are hysterically superstitious about, gasp! RADIATION. This is why we live in a world where nuclear power plant construction has been stymied for forty years. Oh my goooooooooooooooooooooooooooood... we're all gonna glow greeeeen at night! Somebody dooooooo something? Thanks the hand-wringing pony-tailed tree huggers for the coal-fired power plants that cause acid rain that are killing trees in the Smoky Mountains. Dip$h!t$.

        April 15, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • AleeD@Debbie Stallard Sheegog

      Geez Deb, defensive much? The question was posed in the first person. That's how I answered it. It didn't ask how I felt about it on a global scale or how I think this will effect others. The word you should have used is "literal" not "flip."

      The remedial reading comprehension class has a desk just for you over at the stfu academy. Sit on it.

      April 18, 2011 at 7:21 am |
  50. Shmeat!

    DUH! Because it's shmeat! Want to eat real meat? Stop by NoShmeat.com, and read up, esp the "most popular" stuff on the right there. Pretty much says it all.

    April 15, 2011 at 8:52 am |
    • jackhis

      DUH that is why you cook meat before you eat it!!! Bacteria is the largest biological mass in the world. You have bacteria all over your body and you don't die. What a stupid article to try and get people worried and scared!!!

      April 15, 2011 at 9:41 am |
      • Thomas

        Couldn't agree more. What a joke. Bacteria is EVERYWHERE. The only place I'd expect to not find bacteria is on a surgeon's scalpel but who knows.

        April 15, 2011 at 9:52 am |
      • chefshack

        Staphylococcus aureus if allowed in the right temperature zone grows rapidly and produces toxins which is what makes people sick with the illness Staphylococcal gastroenteritis (nausea, vomiting and cramps). The only way this bacteria gets into these foods is by cross contamination cause by...you guessed it, humans. Simple hand washing, and other personal hygiene practices along with proper food handling, cooking, holding and cooling properly, can prevent an outbreak.
        If these products have a normal level of this bacteria it is safe to eat. It is how it is handled in the further preparation that can be potentially harmful. Totally preventable in my opinion.

        April 15, 2011 at 9:55 am |
      • chefshack

        I must also say that cooking does not destroy this particular bacteria.

        April 15, 2011 at 10:00 am |
      • snoopcat

        Duh: it's the "type" of bacteria that's of concen, not just "bacteria" in general. Staph infections are very serious & the use of antibiotics in the raising of animals for food is not having much effect if half of them are infected. The real issue is prolonged use of antibiotics in animal feed that results in resistance to those same antiobiotics in humans & animals.

        April 15, 2011 at 10:04 am |
      • kristin

        they are bringing up the point that it is a bacteria immune to vaccines, which makes it more dangerous than all the other kinds of vaccines in meat. so sad that you have to eat something that you have to worry about cooking right so it will not be poisonous. i'm glad i'm vegan. factory farms are disgusting and cruel.

        April 15, 2011 at 10:11 am |
      • kristin

        ooops, meant bacterias in meat. have a great day everyone!

        April 15, 2011 at 10:12 am |
      • bacos

        kristin,

        Vaccine resistance? I hope that was just a typo you made... twice.

        April 15, 2011 at 10:26 am |
      • Bob

        CNN (and most news media) need to establish some professional criteria concerning articles like this one. They use a lack of knowledge to scare people which ends up not only teaching people the wrong thing, but also damaging commerce. I often wonder if this type of article is edited to intentionally sensationalize and scare people or if the writer is just that ignorant of the whole scenario. If intentional, what is the underlying motive? If ignorance, why is the writer being "employed"? In either case, CNN bears the responsibility.

        April 15, 2011 at 10:29 am |
      • Xinc

        Guys, come on.. Think about it. Why is it that even though almost HALF of all meat in the US has this form of bacteria, that there isn't a mass outbreak of sickness. It's cause for most people are able to deal with the bacteria.. EVEN the resistant ones. I hate how CNN puts these view grabbing titles just to scare the viewers.

        April 15, 2011 at 11:19 am |
      • Fallen Kell

        @Thomas except for the fact that the toxins they produce are still present after you kill them by cooking. In fact, some of those toxins are a direct result of the bacteria dying in the first place.

        April 15, 2011 at 11:36 am |
      • So what

        I take it it causes cancer, too. No big deal, you can make out you will online.

        April 15, 2011 at 11:39 am |
      • bongiojf

        Nail on the head! Meat is not sold "sterile". That is why you cook it. Meat has always, and for that matter veggies as well, had bacteria on them. Let's not even talk about cereals and acceptable limits for insect parts etc! And please, Please don't do bioburden on your milk! And ... and... Since when did we expect life to be be risk free?

        April 15, 2011 at 11:58 am |
      • Ingrid

        Funny how they decided to put a photo of an certified organic piece of meat. Hmmmm....makes you think if big pharma for antibiotics is behind this article right?

        April 15, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
      • sciencedood

        chefshack and fallen kelly check your facts.
        Chefshack: this bacteria is more of a problem in ground meat than steak as shown in the picture. Simply washing hands would not be sufficient to eliminate this bacteria from food. In slaughter houses the meat is exposed to fecal contents during packaging and this is further mixed in during the grinding process. S. aureus is not carried asymptomatically by humans, and the main source is fecal contamination in slaughter houses from the infected animals themselves.
        Fallen Kelly: This is a gram positive organism, so the toxins released by cooking (lipopolysaccharide) is not of substantial concern. This bacteria does specifically produce enterotoxins, but they are not influenced positively or negatively by heat or cold, as they have very stable thermodynamic properties.

        April 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
      • Please Read

        I am sorry I have to hit Reply istead of making my own comment because CNN wont let me. This is quite possibly one of the dumbest articles I have ever read. Did you know that 70% of people on the planet have Staph Aureus in their nasal cavity at any given moment? That means that this meat has LESS of this kind of bacteria than most human beings. It is like one of the single most common bacteria ever. And YES it can be killed with heat – so proper cooking will kill the bacteria, just as it will kill other pathogenic bacteria that is present on meat. You have more risk of exposing yourself to this bacteria shaking someone's hand than eating some properly cooked meat.

        SERIOUSLY, so annoying. I wish they put these kind of stories in the proper context. If anything they should emphasize how much bacteria is on ALL surfaces, everywhere you go, even on your own skin and body – then maybe people would freak out less about contamination and start ensuring that they were just preparing and cleaning up after themselves instead of completely trying to eliminate them from everything.

        April 15, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
      • TwM

        Agreed this is a farce. Probably bought and paid for by the idiots at PETA

        April 15, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
      • Belseth

        You don't cook it before you handle it do you? Also some things like beef are often consumed without being thoroughly cooked. Raw meat is obviously a major source of infection in this country. How many people sterilize their work surfaces in the kitchen? I don't mean wipe them down I mean sterilize. Some of these bacteria are pretty tough and take strong disinfectants. FYI those antibacterial soaps contain a dash of the chemical so all they are really doing is making the bacteria more resistant.

        April 15, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
      • FugginMorons

        Why do you think they want to irradiate meat? To kill off the now overwhelming numbers of bad chit in the mass market meat supply. yes bacteria is everywhere but staph is a variety we would do well to avoid.

        The issue with mass market meat is the lack of care and consideration for the animals and the whole process. Decades of greed and need for low prices has created this unhealthy process of sick animals pumped full of antibiotics and hormones which pass on to us and our children in a low grade. But overtime the accumulation of these substances are not good. It's actually a major reason for overall disease in this country.

        The solution is to source your meat more carefully. Find local butchers and organic farmers who have transparency to their farms. Yes you pay a little more, but nothing in this life is free. Shop for the specials and support your local farms. Otherwise no use complaining.

        Jesus didn't give me incisors and canines to just chew on plants. Nothing better than a healthy cow becoming a healthy steak... And served with a beer.

        April 15, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
      • Seriously?!

        Kristin "they are bringing up the point that it is a bacteria immune to vaccines,"

        Think you need to hit the books a little more – vaccines build immunity against viruses you know like measles, mumps, rubella, polio, and chicken pox.

        Staph can be found on our skin (ever hear of MRSA) and causes no problem as long as our immune system is healthy. Even if cooking doesn't kill all of the bacteria, stomach acid will. The primary cause of staph infection is by introduction to soft tissue through a wound on the skin.

        Nice attempt at starting yet another panic by the media.

        April 15, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
      • Please Read

        Do you sterilize your friend's hands before you shake them? Or the coffee pot at work? Or your door handle? Or the toilet seat? Because the same risks are there as there are with meat. It is EVERYWHERE. There is no more risk with raw meat then their are with your neighbors hands. Wash up after yourself and clean your counter. Cook your meat. Crisis averted.

        April 15, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
      • Person

        Yes, bacteria are everywhere. But antibiotic-resistant staph is NOT everywhere–or at least, it shouldn't be, and there's nothing natural or ordinary about these figures. Pull your head out of the sand, cook your meat through, and vote for public officials who will stop the food industry from feeding and slaughtering practices that are unsanitary. Here's one place where deregulation (mostly by underfunding) has been a disaster.

        April 15, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
      • Please Read

        YES antibiotic resistant bacteria ARE everywhere. OMG do people think that bacteria follow some kind of guidelines for where they can grow!?! Like somehow because they are antibiotic resistant they will be like "well I guess I shouldnt be growing here?!? I wish microbiology was a mandatory class for everyone. I cant understand how people can be so ignorant to something they encounter every second of their lives. Bacteria will grow on ANY and EVERY surface where the environment is suitable for them. So if a regular Staph bug grows on meat, so will a resistant Staph. The only difference between the two is that they express a few different genes that will block the mechanisms of some antibiotics. MRSA grows can grow on many surfaces, it just doesnt ALWAYS cause infection.

        April 15, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
      • INCINERATOR

        ME – I AT LEAST BOIL AND COOK ALL MEAT -FIRE TENDS TO KILL ANYTHING. I EVEN WASH DISHES IN A LARGE METAL -CONTAINER -WHY CAUSE EVEN SURGERY TOOLS ARE STERILIZED BY WATER LEFT AT A ROLLING BOIL FOR A WHILE . AND I ALLWAYS WASH MY HANDS WHEN AFTER HANDLING RAW UNCOOKED MEAT . AND WHEN I COOK MEAT I COOK IT TILL ITS WELL DONE – I LEARNED THIS FROM MY FATHER WHO IS 74 NOW WHO GREW UP WITHOUT REFRIGERATION . TRY READING ABOUT POTTED MEAT LIKE PORK BACK IN THE DAY WITHOUT REFERIGERATION – AND ALSO GET A JOB WORKING FAST FOOD AND TAKE A FOOD SERVERS TEST AND LEARN ABOUT FOOD – AND ALSO KEEP IN MIND – many corporations here and overseas in order to cut costs are preparing food at the farm or ranch not the refinersy so expect alot more – salmonella -campobactor / ecoli and lysteria and hepititus related recalls in the future -i would be especially worried about those "paid off " u.s.d..a. on site paid /hired by the company agents that some how can afford 4 million dollar homes on a salary of "$50,000.00 a year incomes :}"-p.s. next time they come out and inspect – peclorate contamination in wells in california – tell them to uncap the wells at high noon when the gasses rise – not the mornings when the gasses are still at the bottom of the well . and tell the water treatment guys at the sewage plants to post there weekly "real" readings in the news -and not keep it from the public as they do now . – me i go by my nose and taste and sight . if its out of date – or questionable – it gets tossed
        but other things that are currently dated in cans will be suspect and some i will use that have gone out of date since dating is not an exact science . .i feel one day because of overuse and miss use of anitbiotucs in live stock and hybrids – we will have a famine because if the most strongest breed -genetically altered and hybrid and over medicaled-animal or plant food item fails victim to a super viral bug – theres nothing stoppingthe virus from destroying anything else – not to mention all the needless waste of herds or crope fields where some cases are found . and with global climate change – cross contamination is at a verry high tisk factor these days do to insect over population – higher longitude regions affected by environmental conditions leading to viruses and super bugs going farther north and south towards the poles sue to drought and heat waves -flooding and temptrature extremes – so yep famines on its way in the future – so i would study the topic " famine foods " by bob "robert " freedman .

        April 15, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
      • Wzrd1

        OK, I've read MORE incorrect information on Staphylococcus aureus here than there are valid articles available on the internet!
        First, Staphylococcus aureus is in your nose and sinuses. It's on your skin. SOME serotypes are harmful to those whose immune systems are weakened or their bodies are compromised (wounds, in particular).
        Staphylococcus aureus is rather thermally stable, it takes a whopping 12-14 minutes of cooking to kill it. Stomach acids beat it into submission. The toxins ARE inactivated by heating. That is WHY we cook food!
        Now, if they said Escherichia coli was found in half of all meat, I'd say we have a major sanitation problem at the plants. THAT is a fecal coliform bacteria, which happens to be in all of our guts. The O157:H7 serotype being a significant cattle excrement borne pathogen that IS frequently lethal to small children and elderly, destroying the kidneys of survivors quite frequently.
        No, it was one of most common bacteria the world.
        Also, bacteria are NOT the most common organism on the planet, they're actually rather well matched with fungi and protozoans.

        April 15, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
      • CincyCat

        Isn't this generally why you are supposed to COOK your meat before eating it to at least 165, and STORE your meat at the correct temperature (i.e. NOT defrosting it on the counter top)?

        April 15, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
      • Just Me

        STUPID SURVEY! The article points out that this bacteria is not a problem if a) people cook their food properly, b) wash their hands after handling raw meat, and c) keep raw meat away from other foods. Where is the survey choice that says, "I will continue to eat meat, but will do a better job of taking proper precautions?" when you're cooking, do you wash the utensil that has raw meat juices on it before using it again once the meat is fully cooked? Do you scrub your counters and cutting boards with bleach? GET WITH THE PROGRAM AND STAY HEALTHY!

        On a related note, how many times have you purchased roasted chicken from your local grocery store only to get it home and find pink juices inside? I wonder how many people are getting sick because the chicken they THINK is fully cooked isn't! I often have to finish cooking the chicken or have to take it back to the store.

        April 15, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
      • Debbim

        I agree completely. Cooking meat kills the bacteria. Does this website think everyone is stupid?

        April 15, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
      • Voice of reason

        Government conspiracy anyone? Maybe they think well be more cooperative if were too scared to take matters in our own hands

        April 15, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
      • Sophie

        I can't believe how ignorant and downright stupid so many of these replies are. Our cows are not supposed to be covered head to toe with sh*t when they are slaughtered. Our meat is not supposed to be covered with pathogenic bacteria. We are supposed to get beneficial bacteria from our food sources, as well as enzymes, and cooking everything until it is leather to make it safe just destroys all of the nutritional benefits.

        Amazing how smugly ignorant so many people remain on the subject of food and nutrition.

        April 15, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
      • Virginia Christie-Tucker

        Exactly, handling and cooking these products properly will kill the bacteria. And always clean the grill before cooking on them or best to clean after cooking!!

        April 15, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
      • McWrath

        Clearly you have never been infected by a multi drug resistant form of Staph, also known as MRSA, a bacteria closely related to the flesh eating disease! I HAVE, and here's the proof: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjtQicIc730

        April 15, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
      • Please Read

        Sophie, you obviously have no idea what you are talking about. The bacteria they are talking about here – Staph – is NOT present in fecal matter. It is destroyed during digestion – it is not a fecal contaminant. So whether or not cows are covered in sh*t would have absolutely no bearing on the results of this study. Staph is present on the skin and mucosal tissues in ALL animals. So the pathogenic bacteria are either coming from the animals skin or the skin of the human who is touching the meat. Before your refer to other posters as ignorant or stupid you may want to educate yourself.

        April 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
      • karen albert

        I think it was the Columbia School of Journalism years ago who tried to sell a newspaper with only good news. Nobody was interested until they printed a headline "woman serves dead turkey to family".

        April 15, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
      • UpsetVoter

        OMG ... a germ. Guess what ... We contact millions of germs every day. That is why we cook our meat rather than having raw steak. The largest group of people who are taking a big risk are all the people I see using public restrooms without washing their hands. Now that is disgusting.

        BTW ... being vaccine resistant does not mean resistant to cooking. Any meat over 160 degrees for over 3 minutes has no more living bacteria. Be extra careful with any ground beef products and make sure they are well done. I would not advise extra rare or raw steak either.

        April 15, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
      • Jordan

        @kristin
        They are talking about antibiotics, which kill bacteria, not vaccines, which help stop viral infections. Just clearing up a common misconception,.

        April 15, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
      • chefshack

        sciencedood: I have checked my facts and I believe you have your bacteria mixed up. Some strains of Staphylococcus aureus are capable of producing a highly heat stable toxin so are not affected by cooking. This bacteria is also most commonly transferred by humans and is in the face, nose, throat and skin of healthy humans so hand washing can prevent this from contaminating food. This article is speaking of more than just ground beef. The Escherichia coli bacteria however is more commonly found in the intestines of cattle and is killed by proper cooking to 155 degrees. The Staphylococcus aureus bacteria can be found in many food sources, deli meats, salads that contain high protein ingredients such as chicken, tuna and cooked pasta mostly because of cross contamination via human hands and contaminated surfaces in the production process.

        April 15, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
      • chefshack

        Yes cooking can kill most bacteria but the some of the toxins, which are what makes us sick, left behind remain.
        Proper handling of food WILL prevent most foodborne illnesses.
        Somewhere in the chain of production this bacteria was introduced by human hands.

        April 15, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
      • Kevin

        This is a ridiculous article but the comments are much more concerning....besides the fact that bacteria is everywhere on your body, S. aureus is the most common type. With that said all S. aureus is NOT MRSA. Even if MRSA is present on meat, eating it would have no effect on you whatsoever. Your digestive tract is one of the strongest parts of your immune system, and the acid in your stomach would easily kill the bacteria. The other concern about handling the meat is also unfounded; there are significant numbers of people with MRSA on their skin and never develop an abcess, or other bacterial infection from the MRSA. All it takes is washing your hands with soap and water for thirty seconds to eliminate the bacteria from your hands, which should be done after handling any meat regardless if it does or does not contain bacteria.

        The concern about the bacteria producing a toxin is also a ridiculous concern; the toxin produced by S. aureus is NOT heat stable (unlike some other bacterial toxins) meaning even mild cooking will deactivate it.

        April 15, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
      • Sillygramma

        Thisfrom the Mayo Clinic:

        Staph bacteria are able to survive:

        Drying
        Extremes of temperature
        High levels of salt
        Even cooking won't kill the toxins produced by staph bacteria, which is why they can cause food-borne illness.

        ©1998-2011 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER).

        April 15, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
      • Edsr

        Given the opportunity I am sure you would eat a jackass too.............probably would eat your dog....right? You must be oriental...............welcome to staphville you stiff...........................

        April 15, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
      • Don't spew what you don't know.

        ChefShack, you are incorrect. Staph aureus is killed by heat at 60 Celsius (140 F) for 30 minutes or 80 C (176F) for 10 minutes. The toxin produced by the bacteria, however, is not so easy to inactivate. It requires heating at 121 C (250F) for 30 minutes.

        Bottom line, though, is that most foodborne illnesses are prevented by cooking your food properly.

        April 15, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
      • FutureDoc

        Sciencedood:
        just a quick point of clarification... S. Aureus IS a gram positive (as you said), but as such it does NOT have LPS (lipopoysacharide). Only gram negative have LPS (in their outer coat). You're right that they have a heat stable enterotoxin (which is an exotoxin).

        April 15, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
      • FutureDoc

        eh, sorry for the repeat post, didn't that that had been covered!

        April 15, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
      • sp00kie

        Bleach marinade, anyone?

        April 16, 2011 at 10:44 am |
      • gadadhoon

        @chefshack – Cooking destroys the bacteria, just not necessarily the toxin they produced while growing on the food.

        April 16, 2011 at 11:26 am |
      • Elizabeth

        It's no joke. A year ago, I was cleaning meat, cooked it, and it was O.K. to eat, but I got a very bad infection on my hand. I didn't have a cut. There were red streaks running up my arm, etc. I had to take antibiotics for it, and even then it didn't seem to go away. This isn't a scare story. If you aren't scared, O.K., but don't tell other people not to be cautious.

        April 16, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
      • Steve

        What an asinine response. You do realize there are GOOD and BAD bacteria, right? I'll give you one guess which type this article is talking about. There are multitudes of studies that link meat (sans bacteria) with diseases. If you add harmful bacteria into the mix, meat is just that much worse for you. I'm not going to force you to stop eating meat, but suggesting that the consumption of meat is NOT a major health concern is just plain ignorant. The problem with health in the US is that there is not enough fear about certain foods like meat.

        April 17, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
      • chef dugan

        I cook with nothing but rubbing alcohol just to be safe.

        April 18, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • bsitz

      The average person has over 30 different types of bacteria living in their mouths including a few that can make you sick. This article is pointless....but im sure the vegans are drooling over it. The same people that have to pop pills to breast feed their own kids.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:56 am |
      • Train

        Really? IF you believe this is news, you're a moron. Of course their is bacteria on meat. It comes from an animal. I don't know who is dumber, people who might get paranoid after reading this article, or the editors for publishing this "news" in te first place.

        April 15, 2011 at 11:00 am |
      • sunny

        I'm not a vegan, however, seems to me if meat is saturated with bacteria any intelligent person would stay away from it or cook it completely. I can understand though if vegan's "jump on this". Would we eat meat if we could not safely cook it? Of course not

        April 15, 2011 at 11:55 am |
      • bongiojf

        Vegans? Veggies are more at risk because they are not cooked as well, are intentionally exposed to fertilizer, come in close contact with the ah, ground?

        April 15, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
      • seriously

        @train....you are moron for using "their" wrong in the sentence.....jerkbird. now i am going back to eating my meatballs....

        April 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
      • Person

        Amazing how many bozos don't know the difference between benign and dangerous bacteria. Here's a clue: dangerous bacteria are NOT usually on hands you shake, and they HAVE started appearing on unground beef. This is not trivial unless you have the IQ of a stoat.

        April 15, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
      • sameeker

        Let the vegans not forget about the Mexicans who shoit in the spinach patch while harvesting.

        April 15, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
      • still-life

        Personally, I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals, I'm a vegetarian because I hate plants.

        April 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
      • Edsr

        Dirty mouth....yuck................dirty teeth..........yuck..................dirty tongue......yuck..............bet you are a nose picker too.............

        April 15, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • Tom

      What do you think makes banana peels turn black and milk into yogurt? Where do you think antibiotics come from? I'm sick of germaphobes. Why not just write about the landfills filling to capacity? Something equally neurotic from hell.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:29 am |
      • Kirk

        I totally agree, just ridiculous

        April 15, 2011 at 11:22 am |
      • beelzebubba

        Exactly!. Thank jeeeeezus that our far-sighted fearless leaders set aside the Grand Canyon. We won't fill it up with trash until well into the next century. Since we won't be around then, it isn't a problem. Liberals are sooooooo dumb to worry about silly little things. Hell, waste is good for business so it is good for Uhmurikins.

        April 15, 2011 at 11:52 am |
      • Tyler

        This has nothing to do with Liberals, jackass. It has everything to do with the media needing something to hook people and get them to read. For some reason, scare tactics work better than feel-good stories. But hey, I guess generalizing is fun too.

        April 15, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
      • stejo

        There's an ethylene hormone in banana peels that makes them turn from green to yellow to black. I must say, i had to look it up, but I was pretty sure it didn't have anything to do with bacteria.

        April 15, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
      • Thersa

        Stejo is right. Ethylene gas causes bananas to ripen and then over-ripen. Nice try, though.

        April 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Thomas

      This is exactly why we should be irradiating our produce, meat and poultry like they do in at least some European countries. I'm an American living in Italy and haven't seen this problem in all the years I've been here. So why won't US producers do this?? It's cheaper but clearly not more effective to wash our foods with bleach. The cheaper methods our producers employ only clean the surfaces they touch and not contaminated parts say under the skin or internally. Now when the world steps up banning US meat products, and US exports nose dive, Congress will be forced to address what the FDA has failed to do thus far.

      April 15, 2011 at 11:52 am |
      • Edsr

        I was in Italy for a long time................watch them in the restaurants.......they go to the bathroom....don't wash their hands..........pee all over themselves and then fix your salad with their bare hands....yummy.....yummy......hepatitis good for the tummy...............

        April 15, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • fred

      It's not that the bacteria are immune to vaccines, it's that they are declining the vaccines so they don't get autism. Same with the cows

      April 15, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
      • stejo

        What in the holy hell are you talking about? Vaccines are to prevent infection from viruses, not bacteria...ex. flu virus, polio virus, measles virus, etc. etc. And they don't cause autism, unless your a British guy who used to be a doctor, but had his license revoked. Then yeah, they cause autism.

        April 15, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
      • Thersa

        LOL – Maybe there's a Jenny Mc Cowthy out there. Sorry, couldn't resist.

        April 15, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • SANTA

      This strain of Staph is not even harmful to humans upon ingestion. If your rub your meat on your body then i would worry, but as long as your consuming your meat this is nothing to worry about.

      April 15, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • SANTA

      This strain of Staph is not even harmful to humans upon ingestion. If your rub your meat on your body then i would worry, but as long as your consuming your meat this is nothing to worry about. This is just another way the media blows something out of proportion.

      April 15, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
      • INCINERATOR

        wash your hands thoroughly before and after you cook and also rub your nose :} nuff said

        April 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • Detective John Kimble

      Do this same swab in the mouths of 1 Million americans and in 100% you will find that the Staph Aureus bacteria is a part of your normal flora. Talk about blown out of proportion.

      April 15, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
      • Thersa

        Some third or so of people have Staph aureus in their noses and a smaller number with it living in their throats. That doesn't necessarily mean that they have a strain they would be exposed to in handling raw meat. The article states some of these strains they're seeing on meat are resistant to multiple antibiotics. So, technically, at least, these are MRSA (Multi-Resistant Staph Aureus), AKA, flesh-eating bacteria. Why not wash hands after handling raw meat to reduce exposure to these bacteria?

        April 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
      • MRSA

        MRSA stands for methacillin-resistant staph aureus not MULTI-resistant is not one of the "flesh-eating bacterias"

        April 16, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • T.rex

      douse the meat in bleach people, and cook your hands after eating. This is health 101.

      April 15, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
      • Mooooooo

        Look at me being funny, see what I did was reverse the words around ... get it.

        April 15, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • lil kev

      Where is the , "I don't eat my meat raw, I cook it" voting option

      April 15, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • iDoggiebag

      Don't think it's to Scare People this reporting but perhaps to "Educate" People. One Reason we presented at the FDA last week to implement the NipperAlert is exactly that NOT to Scare People. http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-590016 But with an alert system perhaps we can create a win win...

      April 15, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • WALLY

      I'd like to share something with you. I am almost retired. My mother gave me RAW GROUND beef ( with SALT) when I was about 5 yrs old. I have continued to eat it that way. I estimate that I have eaten 3000 lbs raw. This was in PA, SC, NC, MI & NJ. I have never once felt the least bit uncomfortable. I do eat cooked meat on a daily basis.

      April 15, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
      • Jordan

        Gross. Do you still drink breastmilk from her too?

        April 15, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
      • Marfluie

        We must be related. My family has eaten raw top of the round ground raw for the past century. I haven't eaten it recently, but when I do, I look for a good cut of steak, and have it ground once. I refuse to eat any meat that is ground at a factory, even when I cook it or use it in hamburgers or meatloaf or meatballs.

        April 16, 2011 at 5:53 am |
    • Rock

      Plants hold the largest biomass in the world, not bacteria. Get your kingdoms straight!

      April 15, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
      • Jordan

        Actually its bacteria (consider all of them living on every non living surface, as well as in the ocean where they are at a concentration on the order of 1 million cells/mL. Plants do not make up the largest biomass or primary productivity. Both of those are "bacteria".

        April 15, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Manci Durmeyer

      Everybody's body covered with the same bacteria. So when you eat your partner you eat the same bacteria. Your immune system decides if it will fight it off, or you'll get sick.

      April 15, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Callmeishmael

      This is what Americans get for not demanding better quality regarding their food. Only in America, where greed and profit reign supreme would people shoot up chickens with steroids and lock cows into stalls and feed them grain. But, hey, you're getting it all cheaply, right?? And that's what should matter. Well, enjoy. Eat up, idiots.

      April 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • CNNsanity

      This just in, 46% of CNN articles contain the deadly bacteria strepto-ignorance. The more people read the stupider they get. They can be cured though with a vaccination of common sense.

      April 15, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • truth

      I bet worse stuff is living on my balls and my girlfriend is fine.

      April 15, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
      • Bas

        Now that was funny. Thanks for the chuckle after reading some of these rediculous comments!

        April 15, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Rick Flickinger

      Ok everyone posting, watch the video, my goodness, how misinformed people are these days. 90% of you do not even make valid points and read way too much into this story.

      April 15, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • Jscott

      This story is meant to incite fear and panic. Bacteria is everywhere! If you cook meat bacteria dies, if you're going to eat meat raw you should probably make sure you trust the source. If you are not mentally able to understand that meat is cooked to help prevent illness please commit suicide as soon as you figure out what it is.

      April 15, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
      • Debbie Stallard Sheegog

        I do agree that scare tactics are real and used constantly; but, not in this case,we all need to listen up: staph is nothing to fool around with, it is real; go see an I. D. Dr., and listen to what they have to say about this. I haven't eaten any processed hamburger ground meat or turkey, don't like the beef much anyway, for a few years; steak is the safer choice,less processed, less contact with people and machinery, maybe every other week. And, only organic. I would rather have less meat, paying more per oz., organic and we are blessed with local farmers, here; MRSA is in all of our hospitals. And in our nursing centers, where the staff is normally pretty much skeleton crew. It happens. My brother just died in December, 2010, at the age of 56; yes, he was already weak and at risk, but the second of several surgeries caused a staph infection that gradually, didn't heal, attacked his body, inside and out, and cut months off of his last bit of life in total pain. That is what it does. No medicine is available yet. At least, this piece on CNN raises awareness, and, maybe will go more global. Peace.

        April 16, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • taylor

      true, i just dont understand all the bs in the news most news articles are not of any importance any way and if you dont mind me asking what is shmeat this world is like a nazi germany full of propoganda both political and non political i really dont know what to beleive or which news knows whats going on so confusing

      April 15, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • veggiedude

      If you really believe you are meant to eat flesh, then eat it raw. None of this cooking to kill bacteria rubbish.

      April 16, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • chefshack

      I am sorry but I am not incorrect in my facts in this case;

      I am not a doctor but I have been in food production for more than 35 years with training in many aspects of this field including proper sanitation practices.

      Staphylococcus aureus is the most common cause of foodborne illness.

      Staphylococcus aureus is a toxin-producing bacterium. There are 6 distinct serological types of Staphylococcal enterotoxins. Killing the bacteria does not destroy the disease-causing toxin.

      According Dr. Julie A. Albrecht of the University of Nebraska

      “thorough cooking destroys the bacteria, but the toxin is extremely resistant to heat, freezing and refrigeration. Proper hand washing techniques and sanitation of preparation surfaces and utensils help control contamination. Holding foods at 41 degrees or below slows bacterial growth, thereby limiting toxin production”.

      So if the bacteria is allowed to grow in the prime temperature zone it will produce these enterotoxins in mass numbers. Most foods affected are foods that are not handled properly. Cooking, cooling and storing properly will keep the bacteria from growing to toxic numbers.
      Yes our bodies are able to digest the bacteria but if the food is mishandled enough for the toxins to grow in mass it can make you ill.
      In other words if you make a salad with one of these infected meats and you do not handle it properly and keep it out of the ideal temperature zone you may become ill from this toxin.

      My bottom line is that most foodborne illnesses are prevented by proper food handling.

      Read more: Does the Staphylococcus Aureus Toxin Withstand Freezing? | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_7448280_staphylococcus-aureus-toxin-withstand-freezing_.html#ixzz1Jgp01ble

      April 16, 2011 at 9:21 am |
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