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. DWEEZ

    This is not really that surprising to me anyway. Given the conditions that our animals are raised in, I don't feel that this is that crazy (watch Food Inc. and you'll know what I mean). I try to eat a more plant-based diet anyways because it is much more sustainable for our planet.

    April 15, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • @DWEEZ

      Silly wabbit.. Trix are for kids!

      April 15, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
  2. Ping

    I just love all of the people on here trumpeting the "Certified Organic" label. Don't you wingnuts realize that "Certified Organic" means NOTHING? Who certifies this? A local farmer? A regional co-op? Here's a clue people... THERE IS NO FEDERAL GUIDELINES OR OFFICIAL CONTROL OF THE USE OF THE 'CERTIFIED ORGANIC" LABEL! What one farmer considers organic is not necessarily what the next farmer does, unless they got together (co-op) and decided amongst themselves. One farm might say "NO pesticides at all" while the next says "Only natural pesticides!". The first farmer will say that the second farmer's goods are not "organic".
    I know that every other libtard is going to jump all over this screaming how THEIR organic stuff is truly certified, but I'll break it to you all gently. It isn't. Until the FDA comes out with a certification process then the only thing that "certified organic" means is that "We tried to do it a bit better than the other guys".
    The unfortunate truth of it is though that ANY knucklehead can slap that sticker on their product with no, nada, zip, zilch, ZERO repurcussion outside of their local market of people who know better. Also... who is to say that your local market just isnt lying to you anyway? Ever wonder why that "organic" farm's produce is so big and lush? Yeppers... it's called fertilizer. Oh but they only use organic fertilizer! Poop is still poop... unregulated poop... nasty bacteria riddles poop.

    April 15, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Mare@Ping


      There is a "certified organic" farmer near my house – while I've never seen him spray or anything like that, the field right next to his does spray chemicals. Hello – air carries chemicals on to the "organic" farm, hence rendering their products no longer "organic", yet people still pay an arm and leg for their produce. ROFLMAO

      April 15, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  3. Veggielicious

    OMG have you seen how poorly they treat Artichokes. They just rip there hearts right out of the ground. Same with lettuce and other veggies. Fight for veggies rights Eat Meat. Save the veggies they deserve to live to !!

    April 15, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  4. R.Moore

    Wow, a whole 126 packages of meat?

    In other news, in a study of 3 scientists, other scientists found that statistical data could be misleading due to the laziness of the scientists accumulating data.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  5. Monger(as in fish)

    Another CNN fear-mongering article which also brings the vegans, PETA nuts, and Chicken Littles out of the woodwork.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
    • sbast18

      Maybe they'll have spinach with a healthy dose of e-coli for dinner tonight :) Bacteria has been on all food since the beginning of time. Trouble is, we live in such sterile environments, most people can't fight them off anymore. Add a few incomplete antibiotic regimens, sanitizers to torture the poor bacteria and a host of other products designed to keep your environment pure and microscopic pest free then woot woot! Got yourself a recipe for a very fragile human being who will always require drugs to survive – and more and more frequently unable to reproduce (which is just fine in some cases).

      April 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  6. Dan

    S. aureus is also commonly found on human skin. Should we start banning skin? Morons...

    April 15, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  7. jorge washingsen

    Fresh beef does not melt in your mouth. You can figure that one out surely.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  8. dexter

    Dont you people at CNN ever have any good news- every fricken day some bad news and more bad news- you cant eat anything anymore, the gas prices are up the uazzoo. Obama is a retard- boner is a tanned dork, most repubicans are imbeciles. Its all bad.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • jorge washingsen

      You have named most categories,where do you fit in?

      April 15, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  9. jorge washingsen

    Make you wonder how humans survived long enough to get stupid. I would worry more about the growth hormones that are making a chicken fat and in turn making the consumer fat.Even your corn does not even resemble the corn it was engineered from.Beef is all raised with growth hormones. Don't blame Mc Donalds.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
  10. johng

    OMG, I just didn't realize the sky was falling. Thanks CNN, I'll never look at a rare steak the same way again (LOL)

    April 15, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  11. COW

    Eat me.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  12. DanoMcRoo

    I hope Obamacare works as well as the FDA does!

    April 15, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  13. Mary P NYC

    Grass fed one cow at a time meat from Turkana Farms. Killed and frozen on the same day. From them to me. No factories, no supermarkets, no 1000 mile truck rides etc

    April 15, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • What?

      I doubt seriously that the animals are killed and frozen on the same day. Animals have to be allowed to go through rigor mortis prior to cutting, or else there will be EXTREME problems with the tenderness of the meat. The carcass IS going to go through rigor, one way or the other. It it's all ground, then it's not that big a deal. If it's not ground, and the muscles are separated from the bone and frozen prior to going through rigor, they're going to go through rigor when they thaw (it's called "thaw rigor"). Now imagine a tightly stretched rubber band (the muscle), which has a tremendous ability to contract, and release it from what is keeping it stretched. This is what happen to a muscle going through thaw rigor, and it will be as tough as the sole of a tennis shoe.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
  14. jorge washingsen

    That is why fire was necessary. Enough heat on the meat and clean hands problem solved.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
  15. DanoMcRoo

    There is an excellent disinfectant you can use on meat. It's called fire.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  16. Kynt

    If it's all so natural and a matter of course that there are Staph on meat, how come then that 53% of the tested meat is free of the bacteria?

    April 15, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  17. john knows

    And they say second hand smoke kills, Now look at the levels of food and water that kills.. I just say we 're all not safe.. Don ' t be fooled, please do your reseach, before you talk about the next thing that's harmful to you...

    April 15, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
  18. Kathy

    I just don't eat raw meats. Cook hamburgers, pork, chicken all the way through.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  19. Lila

    Obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and the army of medications many Americans have to take every day, hasn't made many of them release the burger, doubt Staph will.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  20. Patrick

    The way food is manufactured in this country is very disturbing to me. It doesn't impress me as being very clean, safe or wholesome. After the first few rounds of contaminated food being recalled several years ago, we made the decision to focus on producing as much of our own food as possible. Last year we raised 80% of our meat (chicken, goat, rabbit, & pork) and almost all our vegetables. This year we're on target to raise 90% of our meat. I hope I never have to go back to being completely reliant on manufactured food again. I just don't trust this country's food system anymore. At this point It's obvious to me that manufacturer's profits are far more important to the food industries and the government than my family's well being.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  21. Tdog

    We raise our own pastured heritage poultry and eggs the old fashioned way without added growth promoters, chemicals, drugs or antibiotics. There is always bacteria in ALL food and that is why it should be prepared properly. Cook your meat, and wash your veggies. Our bodies have some resistance to these bacteria and the key is to not overload ourselves with it. We cannot live in an antiseptic plastic bubble!

    April 15, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  22. Cheesekun

    And why the heck is there a picture of a steak in this article? the only way you're going to get staph or e coli from beef is if the excrement is GROUND into the meat, and then not cooked to proper internal temperature. A steak is not ground, and therefore has not had bacteria ground into it.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  23. LeeJend

    What a pathetic attempt at disguising an editorial as news.

    1) Picture clears shows an "Organic" sticker which has nothing to do with the article content which is about all meat (organically raised meet is a tiny portion of the total).
    2) There are just as many deadly diseases found in vegetables, eggs, etc.
    3) The real news is that excessive use of ANTIBIOTICS in live stock is what caused the antibiotic resistance of the staph strains found.

    Loose the pathetic "this misleading editorial brought to you by the Vegan/Chemical Industry/Feedlot consortiums" attitude and try and write and present real news instead of slanted editorials and infomercials.

    Breaking Headline News – 100% of all people die! Studies show that these people all breathe air and eat food. Health organizations calling for government legislation.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  24. Dave C

    Folks, food is not sterile. Staph aureus is not some kind of dangerous pathogen that we need to be scared of. It is present all over the place. Somewhere around 30% of the population has Staph aureus on their skin normally. You can find it on your countertops, on utensils, just about anywhere. It is most dangerous in people with an impaired immune system, and is usually infects open wounds or lesions. Unless you plan on putting that slab of raw beef on your open cuts, it just isn't a big deal.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  25. R A Williams

    Of course the meat is tainted: the slaughterhouse lines move so quickly the workers don't have the time to take reasonable sanitation or safety precautions. They cut themselves and bleed on the meat all the time, or else they don't have time to sterilize their equipment after, say, a bowel is punctured. You solve this problem by buying beef directly from a producer and having an independent processing house cut it up. This costs more than commercial meat because it takes more labor, but the production is done safely and cleanly, and compared to the price of an ER visit from eating commercial food, it's not that expensive.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  26. elijah

    this is ridiculous, people are still saying that they dont care and they will eat the meat.!? the U.S, has become a nation of sheep.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  27. Ernie

    You can eat a steak rare because only the surface of the meat cut with a knife and exposed to air grows bacteria. Once you cook the outside it's fine to eat. Which is why ground beef needs to be fully cooked. Also beef is a much cleaner meat to handle versus chicken and the dirtiest of all pork.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  28. el_bronco

    Chuck Norris roundhouses the bacteria out of his meat before eating it.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  29. inciteful

    I would feel safer about meat consumption, if it were irradiated.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  30. Elaine

    I buy all my meat organically which means it doesn't contain the antibiotics and hormones which encourage the staph. This is also one of the reasons why the amount of staph infections and deaths have increased in America. In other countries they are not allowed to feed this type of meat to it's citizens.

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

      I seriously cannot believe what I am reading – you think that an ANTI-BIOTIC is what causes the bacteria to grow?!?! You dont have to be a scientist to know what the word means – it KEEPS bacteria from growing. The article was not talking about organic vs conventional. Its talking about ALL meat – organic included. If anything antibiotic-free meat will have MORE types of bacteria growing on them – including the antibiotic resistant strains.

      April 15, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • What?

      Hormones encourage the staph, huh? I wish they had taught me this in the course of some of my microbiology or biochemistry classes. Guess they just forgot and left that detail out, since I'm sure you know more about this subject than they do.

      April 15, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
  31. NamCbtVet

    This is what happens when the lobbyists scream about "big brother" and the wingnuts do everything possible to underfund and understaff the regulatory agencies, both federal and state.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  32. orange_krush

    MEAT RAWKS!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  33. April

    Between the DEET covered imported produce, the salad bags full of salmonella & ecoli, this really doesnt come as a shock. Someone is NOT doing their job which leaves me to wonder where are all our tax dollars going?! :(
    "The FDA is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety"
    Time to get a green house and grow your own gardens and being self dependent again. NOTHING seems regulated anymore.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  34. nothing left

    So, if you eat meat, you will get staph. If you eat vegetables and peanuts, you will get e-coli. Eggs – salmonella.... What about the grains. What awful infections will we get from them?

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

      Chuck Norris is immune to everything. You should be like Chuck Norris.

      April 15, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  35. woodrow

    What a weird question. Asking consumers if they believe the meat they are buying worries them. Are you trying to trigger some kind of panic? If so, I'd like to see you qualify this opinion.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  36. karen

    I have gone to enirely locally grown and processed meat – grass fed/ free range. yet it is more expensive. but I know my farmer and I know the meat's origin. I figure it is healtier mor the animal and for me and I don't have to worry about additives, and the diseases of the feedlot.

    April 15, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  37. roxanne

    i love meat and i love rare steaks even more! i wont stop eating them but this dose concerne me. this maybe the reason i had a staph infection inside my salivary gland.

    April 15, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  38. tom

    Yes meat has bacteria. The article is about a specific, and dangerous bacteria, staph. People do get sick from it all the time, even in hospitals. All you idiots who don't care, just shut up rather than trying to spread your ignorance. Industrial food production has a lot of flaws and is unsustainable and unhealthy. If you don't care, that's your choice, but it doesn't prove that there aren't real issues to sort out. Go back to your video games and sports programming and leave the thinking to the rest of us.

    April 15, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  39. steven

    I don't think this is a terrible article, I think people need to wake up to the fact that eating meat that is rare or not fully cook nomatter how tender it extremely harmful and dangerous as bacteria can and will harm you. Eat as you like, but be educated and informed on the risks your taking.

    April 15, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  40. Lesley

    I cook it to recommended temperatures. My family has never been sickened in all of the years that I have been cooking. It seems ironic to me that they have frequently been sickened by non-meat, meat subsitutes in fast-food restaurants but never by a home-cooked meal made with store-bought meat.

    April 15, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  41. gaggle

    Now the Repubs want to cut the FDA...Probably lots more sickness will result.

    April 15, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  42. batman

    not worried.... better than radioactive shellfish, crab, and fish stock from the northern pacific.

    April 15, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  43. Ann

    Let us (lettuce) just eat fruit and veggies!!!!

    April 15, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  44. rob

    cnn is an organization that blows up their news stories to draw interest for news that is typically and point "radiation found in US milk that is 5000 times higher than typical levels"...turns out that the 5000 times more was still hundreds of thousands of time less than what is considered potentially harmful...all of these news organizations overplay these news stories so much and manipulate headlines to draw viewers...that's the problem with "for profit" might a well be a damn reality show..."bacteria found in nearly half of U.S. meat" bacteria is everywhere....if this were a serious problem, tons of meat would be pulled from the stores...cnn, fox news, all suck the end

    April 15, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  45. JBJingles

    My cow is a vegetarian.

    April 15, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  46. aspertame

    Oh, and as for "cookit good" with the contamination in produce: yep. Fertilizer is guess what? It may not even be properly aged fertilizer which is safer, but human waste in some cases coming into direct contact with crops. (And now you know why traditional asian cuisines often either cooks the veggies or ferments the heck out of them with salt and the GOOD bacteria.)

    If you can't bear to think of eating anything – animal or vegetable – that may well be contaminated, you'd better not inform yourself on agricultural practices.

    A few drops of bleach in a BIG plastic tub of water (like the kind that fits in sinks for washing dishes) will help a lot when there's concern that rinsing the fruits and veggies may not be enough. But I'm not big on going nuts with the disinfecting because, A; that's how we breed those supergerms, by being super-sterile (no, it's not just a hospital problem anymore); and B: there are arguments that the reason so many of today's kids have deathly peanut or other food allergies, severe asthma, etc. is because we are TOO clean/sterile in our environments, and that young children in particular really do have a recommended daily requirement of dirt and ick to build up their immune systems. We have data going back to the 1940s that suggests that it's a quantifiable health risk to grow up in the proverbial plastic bubble.

    April 15, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  47. erich2112x

    Pass the A-1

    April 15, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  48. Sean

    I'm worried. I'm very worried. I'll have to stop smoking meat in my crack pipe and inhaling it.

    April 15, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Ryan in Michigan

      "I was standing outside, smoking some meat..."
      "I'm sorry, you were smoking some meat?"
      "Yes, there wasn't a cigar store in the neighborhood."

      April 15, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  49. Bill

    Wonder what would happen if they tested Halal meat??

    April 15, 2011 at 11:43 am |
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