News

‘Superbug’ bacteria widespread among chicken breasts

‘Superbug’ bacteria widespread among chicken breasts

YUMMY: About half of the raw chicken breast meat in America carries antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Photo: clipart.com

By Charles Abbott

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – About half of the raw chicken breasts in a nationwide sampling carried antibiotic-resistant “superbug” bacteria, a U.S. consumer group said on Thursday, calling for stricter limits on use of the medicines on livestock.

It could be more difficult to treat people if they became ill after eating chicken with the antibiotic-resistant bacteria, said Consumer Reports, which describes itself as the world’s largest independent product-testing organization.

The group said it tested for six types of bacteria in 316 raw chicken breasts purchased from retailers nationwide during July. Almost all of the samples contained potentially harmful bacteria, it said.

Some 49.7 percent carried a bacterium resistant to three or more antibiotics, according to the group, and 11 percent had two types of bacteria resistant to multiple drugs. Resistance was most common for the antibiotics used for growth promotion and disease treatment of poultry.

Consumer Reports urged passage of a law to restrict eight classes of antibiotics for use only to treat humans and sick animals. The law would be more effective, it said, than the Food and Drug Administration’s plan, announced last week, to phase down the non-medical use of antibiotics in livestock over three years.

In addition, it said the Agriculture Department should set levels for allowable salmonella and campylobacter bacteria in poultry and give its inspectors the power to prevent sale of poultry meat that contains salmonella bacteria that is resistant to multiple antibiotics.

Chicken is the most widely consumed meat in the United States. Americans are forecast to consume nearly 84 pounds per person in 2014, compared to 53 lbs of pounds of beef and 48 pounds of pork.

The broiler industry said it will cooperate with the FDA’s planned phase-down of antibiotics although it says there is negligible risk from current use of the drugs.

Consumers should cook poultry to 165 degrees F (73.8C) to kill bacteria and take steps, such as using a separate cutting board for raw meat, to avoid cross-contamination of other foods, Consumer Reports said.

(Editing by Ros Krasny and Eric Walsh)

Latest Stories

in Music

Miley Cyrus isn’t pregnant

Fresh
mileycyrus

Reps for the "Wrecking Ball" singer have shot down rumors that she's expecting a child.

in Black Friday, Entertainment

Santa’s little helpers break world record in Bangkok

Fresh
elf

Thousands of schoolchildren helped break the world record for the largest gathering of Christmas elves.

in Music

Ariana Grande hits back at Bette Midler

Ariana Grande performs on stage at 102.7 KIIS FM's Wango Tango at the StubHub Center on Saturday, May 10, 2014, in Carson, Calif.

The "First Wives Club" star called the "Problem" singer "ridiculous" and questioned her sexy antics.

in Music

Bon Jovi is ‘hard-pressed’ to let Sambora back in the band

bonjovi

Jon Bon Jovi appears to have severed ties with former bandmate Richie Sambora.

in Black Friday, Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: John Oliver takes on Turkey pardoning

13-overlay5

The silly tradition is lampooned by the "Last Week Tonight" host.