Consumer Reports study finds bacteria in pork samples

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In a study released Tuesday, Consumer Reports claimed that pork chop and ground pork samples examined by the group contained Yersinia enterocolitica, a bacterium that can cause fever, diarrhea and abdominal pain, according to the report. The study also said that bacteria found in 198 samples testedproved to be resistant to antibiotics commonly used to treat people.” The study said that salmonella also was found on some samples.

 The report cited “the constant dosing of animals with antibiotics to make them grow faster and prevent the spread of disease in crowded living conditions” as a factor in the study’s finding. The report also said “consumers can become infected by handling or eating raw or undercooked meat.”

Infection with Y. enterocolitica is most often acquired by eating contaminated food, especially raw or undercooked pork products, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Y. enterocolitica is a relatively infrequent cause of diarrhea and abdominal pain and most infections are uncomplicated and resolve completely, according to CDC.

The National Pork Board (NPB) responded to the study calling it “a great disservice” to American consumers who deserve better in the national conversation about safe food. “Consumer Reports has not accurately portrayed the safety and quality of pork products,” said Chris Novak, NPB chief executive officer. “American farmers produce some of the safest pork in the world.”

NPB is continuing to work to improve the safety, healthfulness, and quality of our pork, according to a statement released by the group. “The bottom line for consumers is that properly cooked pork is safe for you and your family,” said Novak.

For consumers seeking information about pork safety, preparation, and handling, the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) provides a fact sheet on pork. 

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