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USDA-certified organic meat is less likely to be contaminated with dangerous multidrug-resistant organisms (MDRO) than conventionally produced meat, according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Their study examined data from 39,349 meat samples – chicken breast, ground beef, ground turkey, and pork chops – from 19 states, tested during the years 2012 to 2017 as part of the US National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System. Contamination with at least one multidrug-resistant bacteria capable of causing foodborne illness was found in 3.9% of the conventionally produced meat samples and just under 1% of the organic ones. Analysis also showed that certified organic meats were 56% less likely than conventionally processed meats to be contaminated with MDRO.
The researchers noted: “Heightened MDRO and overall bacterial exposures will inherently increase consumer risk for antimicrobial-susceptible and resistant foodborne illness and may enhance the community spread of antimicrobial resistance genes. Our analysis suggests that organic production practices are associated with lower prevalence of overall contamination, which may affect subsequent food-borne exposures.”
Sources: Organic meat less likely to be contaminated with multidrug-resistant bacteria, study suggests. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. May 12, 2021. jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2021/organic-meat-less-likely-to-be-contaminated-with-multidrug-resistant-bacteria-study-suggests.html.
Innes GK, Nachman KE, Abraham AG, et al. Contamination of retail meat samples with multidrug-resistant organisms in relation to organic and conventional production and processing. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2021; 129(5). DOI: 10.1289/EHP7327.
Published in the Price-Pottenger Journal of Health and Healing
Summer 2021 | Volume 45, Number 2
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