Transcript: Fecal Bacteria Survey
Last year, we played the USDA parasite game. This year, we can play the fecal bacteria game, thanks to the Centers for Disease Control, which tests retail meat to see how much fecal matter contamination they can find.
First up, Salmonella; a fecal pathogen that can trigger something called Reiter’s syndrome, where you come down with Salmonella food poisoning once, and you can end up with chronic, debilitating arthritis for the rest of your life. And all sorts of other grisly consequences.
Where’s Salmonella found the most? Chicken, turkey, beef, or pork? I would have guessed chicken; but no, turkey was nearly twice as risky in the latest annual survey in terms of Salmonella contamination.
But what percentages are we talking about? Who thinks greater than 50% of turkey has Salmonella in it? Or is it less than 50%?
Thankfully, less than 50%. Only about 1 in 7 retail packages of poultry has the potential to permanently cripple us. Better odds than Russian roulette!
Seriously, though. Why are American consumers placed at such high risk? Earlier this year, in a meat industry trade publication, an article was published on how countries in Europe boast extremely low salmonella rates. They’ve gotten salmonella contamination in poultry as low as 2%. How do they do it?
While countries like Sweden still find some Salmonella-positive flocks, the difference is that it is illegal there to sell salmonella-positive chicken. What a concept. It’s illegal to sell a product that could kill or cripple our children. So why don’t we do that?
Banning infected poultry is a “hard-handed” policy, an Alabama poultry science professor explains: “The fact is that it’s too expensive not to sell salmonella-positive chicken.”
Can you imagine a toy manufacturer saying, “Sorry, we’d love to pull unsafe toys from the market, but such a large percentage of our toys are hazardous, that it would be too expensive for us.”
Next up, Campylobacter, a fecal pathogen that can trigger something called Guillain-Barré syndrome, where you come down with Campylobacter food poisoning once, and you can end up paralyzed on a ventilator. You’re not in a coma; you’re awake—but so completely paralyzed you can’t even breathe on your own. I’ve seen about a dozen patients with Guillain-Barré—it’s like straight out of a buried alive horror movie.
Where’s Campylobacter found the most? Chicken, turkey, beef, or pork? No contest: the chicken breasts. It doesn’t seem to be in red meat at all.
But is it more than half of chicken in stores these days? Or less than half? Well, it was just under 50%.
Still, with the virtual elimination of polio, the most common cause of neuromuscular paralysis in the United States now comes from eating chicken.
And finally, E. coli—a general indicator of how much fecal matter is left on or in the meat. Chicken, turkey, beef, or pork?
Turkey, to another surprise finish. But is it more than 50%, or less?
More than 90%: 9 out of 10 packages of ground turkey, 9 out of 10 chicken breasts, are packaged with poop, and most ground beef in the country has manure in it as well—although less than half of pork chops are contaminated with hog feces.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.
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