Here’s some surprising news for all you burger obsessives out there. Consumer Reports just conducted an in-depth analysis of ground beef from all across America, ranging from grass-fed organic meat to the conventional stuff you buy at Albertsons and Costco. CR found bacteria associated with poop in every single pound of ground beef it tested.

swanson poop

Consumer Reports purchased a total of 458 pounds of ground beef in 300 different packages from 103 stores in 26 cities across America. All types of ground beef commonly sold in this country were included, from beef raised in feedlots and administered antibiotics, to beef raised without antibiotics or hormones, to exclusively grass-fed organic beef.

It’s Extremely Likely That the Bacteria Found Came from Poop

Consumer Reports found “bacteria signifying fecal contamination” (enterococcus and/or nontoxin-producing E. coli), in every pound of ground beef tested.

The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) responded to the report in a statement, saying: “Bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus, and generic E. coli are commonly found in the environment and are not considered pathogenic bacteria.” In the same statement, NAMI went on to say,

“The real headline here is the bacteria that Consumer Reports doesn’t report finding in their testing—Shiga toxin-producing E. coli—and just one percent of samples with Salmonella, a number far below USDA performance standards, which are the foodborne bacteria of greatest public health concern in beef,”

Quartz reached out to several non-NAMI-associated microbiologists who said that it was “extremely unlikely” that the particular bacteria found in the ground beef tested came from sources other than feces.


But It’s Not Only About The Poop

While the poop is definitely the thing that will stick in your mind, other Consumer Reports findings include multidrug-resistant bacteria, which CR calls “superbugs.” These superbugs are resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics, and are thus much harder to treat.

For this test, CR divided its meat samples into conventionally-raised beef, mostly sustainably produced beef, and grass-fed beef. Results showed that 18% of conventionally-raised beef contained superbugs, compared to only 6% of the grass-fed beef tested.

You can read the full report here, but we definitely don’t suggest reading while eating a burger. We also don’t suggest putting the cilantro the FDA banned last month for its own poop problems in your guacamole.

[via Consumer Reports, Quartz]