(WPRI) -- The Rhode Island Department of Health says it's always ready to answer questions from people concerned about food safety, and the latest study by Consumer Reports has stirred a lot of questions.
Bacteria in meat is nothing new. However, the recent analysis has found significant amounts of harmful and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, causing consumers to think twice about buying pork.
Of the 198 samples of pork taken, the report found 3 to 7 percent contained salmonella, staphylococcus aureus and listeria, all of which are notorious for causing food-borne illnesses.
Although, what really has consumers and some health experts concerned is that some of the discovered bacteria were found to be resistant to antibiotics. In other words, harmful "superbugs" that cannot be treated by conventional antibiotics.
A statement from the National Pork Producers Council says the few antibiotics cited as being unable to treat some of the bacteria "are in classes that are not considered critically important to human health."
The samples in the report also found a lesser-know food-borne pathogen present in 69 percent of the pork tested. That bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control, infects more than 100,000 Americans every year.
The U.S Department of Agriculture said the findings "affirm that companies are meeting the established guidelines for protecting the public's health." Despite the findings, the RI Department of Health reminds consumers to thoroughly cook all meat, including pork, which should be 145 degrees. Ground pork needs to reach a temperature of 160 degrees to kill the bacteria.
Also, anything that comes into contact with raw meat should go into the dishwasher before touching anything else, and juices from raw meat that touch the counter should be washed with hot, soapy water.
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