A new study by Consumer Reports finds 100 percent of sampled beef contained fecal contamination.
Monday’s edition of Consumer Reports revealed that all 458 pounds of ground beef bought for research contained fecal contamination, which can cause ailments such as blood or urinary tract infections. The media organization purchased the meat—of both conventional and “sustainable” varieties—from 103 grocery, big-box, and natural-food stores in 26 cities across the country and also found more than 80 percent of the samples contained at least two types of bacteria. In the past year, Americans bought 4.6 billion pounds of beef, with an estimated 50 percent of it in the ground form. If undercooked, as in the case of rare or medium-rare preparation (which 28 percent of the meat-eating population prefers), beef can result in sickness from bacteria.
Just before the July 4 holiday this year, 13.5 tons of ground beef and steak destined for restaurants and other food-service operations were recalled on a single day because of possible contamination with a dangerous bacteria known as E. coli O157:H7. That particular bacterial strain can release a toxin that damages the lining of the intestine, often leading to abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and in some cases, life-threatening kidney damage.