meat shelf

Take a deep breath, carnivores: 87 percent of supermarket meat — including beef, pork, chicken, and turkey products — tests positive for normal and antibiotic-resistant forms of Enterococcus bacteria. Fifty percent of ground turkey contains resistant E. coli, 10 percent of chicken parts and ground turkey tests positive for resistant salmonella, and 26 percent of chicken parts come contaminated with resistant campylobacter. Resistant or not, the mere presence of these types of microbes means the majority of our meat comes into contact with fecal matter at some point. Not very appetizing, is it?

The government recently admitted something a lot of conscious eaters probably already suspect: A significant majority of supermarket meat is contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. But it did so vewwy, vewwy quietly. It came buried in the FDA’s 2011 Retail Meat Report, which reveals the results from periodic testing of common supermarket meat products for bacterial contamination and bacterial resistance to multiple antibiotics. The FDA leaves these numbers opaque, but thanks to calculations by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) using the government’s data, we know just how terrifying these results are.