bacteria Staphylococcus aureusA recent study conducted on the poultry and meat sold in various grocery stores has found that the products are almost always contaminated by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus.

The Clinical Infectious Diseases Journal reported that the bacteria could cause serious health risks, from infections of the skin to pneumonia. In some instances, Staphylococcus aureus infections can even cause death. There is no need to panic though, as researchers assure consumers that the amounts of Staph bacteria present in meat products are relatively small. However, precautions are still necessary in order to avoid getting bacterial infections. Meat should be properly handled and cooked in order to assure that Staphylococcus and any other types of bacteria (that may be present) are effectively killed and not ingested.

In the study that was done, 136 samples of meat from 26 different grocery stores in Florida, Arizona, Illinois, Washington DC and California were tested for bacterial contamination. Ninety-six percent of the samples tested positive with Staph that are resistant to certain antibiotics. Of the meat samples that tested positive for Staph, 52 percent were found to be resistant to three or more types of antibiotics and the remainder was found to be resistant to at least one type of antibiotic.

The study also showed that turkey most often contained the Staph bacteria that are resistant to three antibiotics, followed by pork, chicken and beef.

The FDA is already aware of the findings of the study. Currently, the agency is already working with the Agriculture Department and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to address the issue.