Consumer Reports warns that 69 percent of raw pork are contaminated with the bacteria Yersenia enterocolitica, likely to cause fever and unpleasant gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps.
The publication tested 198 samples of both whole and ground pork, finding the antibiotic-resistant bacteria alongside salmonella, listeria, and staphylococcus, as well as traces of a growth drug called Ractopamine. The tests show about 4% of the samples contained salmonella.
As Forbes highlights, “creepiest of all, the study found that many of the bacteria found in the pork were resistant to multiple antibiotics, suggesting that current methods of protecting meat from bacterial contamination are insufficient to deal with evolving mutations.”
While awareness of salmonella is widespread, about 100,000 people contract illness from the lesser known Yersinia enterocolitica each year. The real figure is much greater, experts say, because there are likely about 120 cases that go unreported for every one that is diagnosed.
Consumer Reports recommends cooking pork fully and thoroughly, as well as buying certified organic pork. Of course, cooking pork this way runs counter to the growing trend of medium-rare swine, which can be delicious. But since medium-rare pork chops are best when the meat is high-quality (e.g., heritage breed), the chances of contamination are slimmer.