Americans love to barbecue. It’s almost as American as apple pie. In fact, 75 percent of households in the United States own an outdoor grill or smoker. And according to the 2016 U.S. census, over 75 million of us cook out at least once a year.
Thick steaks, juicy burgers, tender chicken… we love it all.
In other words, we’re serious about our meats. And that’s what makes a new report from Environmental Working Group (EWG) even more disturbing.
Before you toss your next steak on the grill, you’re going to want to read this. It turns out with each perfectly prepared bite you may be swallowing more than just meat.
According to new research by the EWG, nearly 80 percent of all meat sold in US grocery stores may be teeming with bacteria. Even worse, these aren’t just any run of the mill germs. They are antibiotic-resistant superbugs. The kind we’ve been warning you about for nearly a decade now.
From factory farms to contaminated meats
Huge factory farms are overcrowded unsanitary places. The livestock that is raised on them tends to be stressed out, get sick easily and are underweight. Which is, let’s face it, not good for business.
So farmers often dose the animals up on unnecessary antibiotics to combat these problems. This helps keep the animals from getting sick and fattens them up. So it’s good for the farm’s bottom line.
But it’s bad for us. Because the practice has led to the development of hearty bacteria that are resistant to one or more antibiotics, known as superbugs. And these bugs are hitching a ride from the farms to our supermarkets hiding in contaminated meats.
From contaminated meats to catastrophes
We’ve known about the superbug from for many years. Yet despite all the warnings, factory farms are still using the poor practices that create these ugly bugs. And it’s not just gross to think about, there are real consequences.
1. It spreads superbugs:
Bacteria get on everything. They crawl into soil and water and coat any surfaces the animals or the farm workers touch. So now, we have MORE superbugs and they’re infesting MORE things. And this raises the risk of contaminated meats finding their way onto your grill at your next cookout.
2. It creates MORE superbugs:
We pass on lots of things to our kids. Maybe your son has your blue eyes. Or perhaps your daughter’s curly hair makes her the spitting image of your wife. Well, the same sort of thing happens with superbugs. Except it’s their resistance they’re passing on to their offspring.
When the original superbug survives, it can pass on its ability to the next generation of superbugs creating even more of the dangerous, hard to kill bacteria.
3. It spreads resistance:
Superbug offspring aren’t the only ones that pick up the ability to survive antibiotics. It turns out bacteria can learn this death-defying trick from each other too.
In other words, superbugs can pass along their antibiotic resistance to other bacteria they meet. And this, of course, makes them superbugs, too.
4. It makes live-saving antibiotics useless:
And here’s where the danger really hits home. If you become infected with one of these superbugs, it can be difficult to treat you.
Since the bugs are resistant to many of the antibiotics used to cure infections, they’re often useless. And a simple infection can quickly become a life-threatening one when doctors are unable to treat you effectively.
Making meats safer to eat
Don’t worry. You aren’t going to have to give up grilling and swear off meats just yet. You can reduce your risk of buying contaminated meats. And you can make sure the meats you buy are safer to eat.
First, become a label reader and you can start buying safer. The trick is to know the difference between labels that give you valuable information, and ones that only make you think you’re getting something healthier.
Phrases like “natural,” “animal welfare review” and even “no antibiotics” are typically nothing more than clever marketing. And they can range from not well verified to meaningless.
Instead, look for labels and stamps reading American Grass-fed Association, Certified Humane, Global Animal Partnership, USDA Organic, Animal Welfare Approved, and Food Alliance Certified-Grassfed. These certifications have strict guidelines and rigorous oversight so you can be sure they mean something.
Second, DON’T wash your meats before cooking them. It might seem like a good idea, and it’s likely the way your mom taught you to prepare it. But when you wash contaminated meats, water droplets splash into your sink, onto your kitchen counters and even your hands and clothing.
Even the tiniest droplets can carry millions of superbugs. And once they’re on your kitchen surfaces, it’s that much easier for them to get to spread to other foods. And that includes the ones you aren’t cooking, such as salads and fruits.
Third, be sure to cook meat to the right temperature. Superbugs may be antibiotic resistant, but heat can still kill them. Always use a meat thermometer, don’t just cook to the touch or time.
Follow these guidelines, for minimum cooking temperatures:
- Red meats, such as beef, pork, and lamb, ground: 160 degrees F.
- Ground poultry: 165 degrees F.
- Steaks, chops, and roasts: 145 degrees F., and let rest for three minutes
- Poultry, whole or pieces: 165 degrees F.
- Pork and ham: 145 degrees F., and let rest for three minutes
Cooking out on the grill is one of the highlights of summer. Following these guidelines can help make sure it stays that way by reducing the risk of serving up contaminated meats.
Latest posts by Alice Jacob (see all)
- [ALERT] What HIGH blood sugar does to your BRAIN - March 4, 2021
- The stroke risk you can see in your bathroom sink - March 3, 2021
- Little-know amino acid could RESTORE your strength - March 3, 2021