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Consumer Reports Caution For Ground Turkey

5:33 PM, Apr 30, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- For a healthier meal, Dina Fleischman cooks ground turkey.

"I make meat loaf with it, and meat balls, meat sauce for spaghetti.  I will use turkey instead of beef for any recipe that calls for beef," she says.

But a Consumer Reports investigation shows that when you're talking turkey you could be getting more than you bargained for.

"Overall, 90 percent of the samples we analyzed had one or more of the five bacteria we looked for. Adding to that was the fact that most of these bacteria proved resistant to antibiotics," says Urvashi Rangan.

Consumer Reports shipped 257 samples of ground turkey to an outside lab.

The scientists created a broth with each sample to analyze.

More than half of the samples tested positive for the fecal contaminants enterococcus and E. coli, the majority were resistant to multiple antibiotics.

Rangan says, "Some of these bacteria can cause food poisoning and many infections.  The good news is we found less antibiotic-resistance in bacteria from turkeys raised without antibiotics."

Antibiotics given to farm animals was once touted as a great innovation to prevent disease and promote growth.

"What we now realize is that giving turkeys and other animals antibiotics is accelerating the growth of drug-resistant super bugs.  When people are sickened with these, they can be much harder to treat," Urvashi Rangan says.

To kill any bacteria that may be present in ground turkey, you need to cook it thoroughly to 165 degrees.

You can also minimize your risk by making smart choices when you shop.  Look for ground turkey that's labeled "raised without antibiotics" or "organic."

The National Turkey Federation disputes the tests results. 

NTF Response To Consumer Reports Investigation

Consumer Reports says it stands by their test and its investigation.   

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