Basically All Pork Is Contaminated With Bacteria

OMG 10

porkPut the pork chop down. Back away from the bacon. Let lay that loin. According to a recent study by Consumer Reports, most pork in grocery stores is contaminated with yersinia enterocolitica, "a lesser-known food-borne pathogen." How much contaminated pork did they find?

I hope you're sitting down.

Consumer Reports found that 69 percent of the pork it bought was tainted. That is not okay.

The CDC says more than 100,000 people are sickened by yersinia enterocolitica each year, but that for every case diagnosed, more than 120 are not. What does this pesky pathogen do to us? Symptoms include fever, cramps, and bloody diarrhea. Ouch.

What's scary is how pervasive the contamination is. Consumer Reports tested 148 pork chops and 50 ground pork samples from around the U.S. and discovered that 69 percent tested positive for yersinia and 11 percent for enterococcus, "which can indicate fecal contamination that can lead to urinary-tract infections." Salmonella was found in 4 percent of samples and listeria was present in 3 percent.

The good news for us is that most of this pork can be made safe by cooking it properly -- pork should be cooked to 145 degrees, and ground pork to 160 degrees. (And that bit about the bacon earlier, bacon is totally fine. I just like alliteration.)

It is worrisome, knowing how much bacteria is floating around in our food supply. Between contaminated peanut butter, salmonella-laden spinach, and now pork, it's a wonder there's anything left to eat. I'd suggest we all just curl up with some Twinkies, but we all know what happened to those. But in all seriousness, our food producers really need to be held accountable for the way they handle food, and make sure their facilities are clean and that our meat isn't winding up on store shelves full of harmful bacterial.

Does this make you less likely to eat pork?


Image via ugod/Flickr

food, food safety


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Wendy Hanson

OK, here it is.  Raw meat comes from animals, which are always dirty.  Animals live outside.  Animals poop!  Raw meat is not supposed to be sterile.  It is not a ready to eat food, like peanut butter.  Peanut butter is cooked in a factory to kill bacteria - pork is not.  You suggest that the problem is unclean facilities, but the raw pork will always have some amount of bacteria.  You are silly to think otherwise.

Jespren Jespren

Or, you know, COOK IT. There's a reason mankind has been cooking it's food since, oh, as soon as we mastered the whole fire thing. Pork should be white and it's juices clear, so should chicken. Beef is a bit harder to catch things from, but to be safe it too should run with clear juice, not bloody. I know 'fine dining' is all about not cooking things (it's like becoming a painter to not paint) but step away from the tartar and try some disease killing fire!

tuffy... tuffymama

Don't get your meat from a CAFO, and you're far less likely to literally eat shit. Get to know your farmer, hell, get to know the animals you eat. I know where every bite of meat I eat comes from. You can start by looking for sources in your area on websites like or contacting your county extension office.

Pinkmani Pinkmani

Pork is delicious! I'm making my mouth water right now! If people learned how to cook, they wouldn't get the runs...

nonmember avatar melissa

I don't eat meat

Problem solved

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

It's part of a decomposing corpse that has been exposed to fecal matter among other things. Of course it's contaminated with bacteria.

MamaD... MamaDV1012

I don't eat much pork anyways and what meat I do cook I use a thermometer.  I REALLY don't see how this one study you could theorize that basically all pork is contaminated, that's just a stupid assumption.  SMH. 

carole76 carole76

I always cook my pork well, not worried

doodledo doodledo

Basically the whole world is contaminated with bacteria. Everyone panic

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