Consumer Reports Says Our Pork Is Full of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

But is it all hogwash?
But is it all hogwash? Photo: Collin Keefe

It was more than a year ago when the USDA relaxed its official pork-cooking guidelines, but hold up! There’s a new pork predicament on the horizon. A recent study conducted by Consumer Reports finds that the majority of pork products in this country are tainted with a rare bacteria strain known as Yersinia enterocolitica. Like garden variety food-borne pathogens such as Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli, the bug identified in the study causes fever, abdominal pain, and diarrhea that can last one to three weeks if ingested. However, unlike those more common disease-causing agents, Yersinia enterocolitica is resistant to most antibiotics. And all signs seem to point toward the widespread factory-farm practice of loading porkers with antibiotics as the blame.

Consumer Reports found the bacteria in 69 percent of the raw pork products it tested. The study contends that low doses of antibiotics used to promote growth and stave off infection in pigs allows bacteria like the Yersinia enterocolitica to become resistant to the drugs. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter of New York says this inconvenient truth is “simply terrifying” and demonstrates the fact that the practice threatens public health. Naturally, the USDA, National Pork Board, and industry magazine National Hog Farmer have responded with claims that the study does not accurately portray the safety and quality of pork products.

Consumer Reports Finds Most Pork Contaminated With Yersinia [Food Safety News]
Pork Board: Consumer Reports Article Off Base [National Hog Farmer]
Earlier: Yeah, Go Ahead and Eat Pink Pork

Consumer Reports Says Our Pork Is Full of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria