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Study: Half of supermarket meat may have staph bug

Apr 15, 2011 2:08:00 PM - thestate.com
A new report estimates that half the meat and poultry sold in the supermarket may be tainted with the staph germ.

That estimate is based on 136 samples of beef, chicken, pork and turkey purchased from grocery stores in Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Flagstaff, Ariz. and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Researchers found more than half contained Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that can make people sick. Worse, half of those contaminated samples had a form of the bacteria resistant to at least three kinds of antibiotics.

Proper cooking should kill the germs. But the report suggests that consumers should be careful to wash their hands and take other steps not to spread bacteria during food preparation.

The nonprofit Translational Genomics Research Institute in Arizona did the work.