A consumer champion’s study of ground turkey meat, bought at retail stores throughout the US earlier this year, revealed that half of the meat contained bacteria and some contained other germs including salmonella.
Further tests by Consumers Union (CU) showed that most of the disease-causing organisms were resistant to the antibiotics usually used to fight them.
The study showed that ground turkey labeled “organic” or “no antibiotics” was just as likely to harbor bacteria but that these particular organisms had less resistance to antibiotics.
If you’re buying ground turkey meat, Consumers Union recommends opting for these labels, especially if they also say “USDA Process Verified”. Another helpful label is “Animal Welfare Approved”.
No meat is risk free, CU points out, but other things you can do to reduce the risks include buying meat just before checking out of the grocery store. Store it below 40 degrees if you plan to cook it within a couple of days; otherwise, freeze it. Cook turkey to an internal temperature of 160 degrees and wash hands thoroughly both before and after handling it.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has useful guidelines on how best to cook poultry safely at http://tinyurl.com/usda-pltry.