The term "superbug" has become a popular way to describe any antibiotic resistant bacteria, but a new Meat MythCrusher video challenges the claim that so called "superbugs" are commonly found on meat and poultry products, the American Meat Institute said Thursday.
The video features an interview with Mindy Brashears, Ph.D. professor of microbiology and food safety at Texas Tech University. Dr. Brashears challenges claims that "superbugs" are on the rise in meat and poultry products, noting that that USDA data suggests otherwise.
"Overall USDA testing shows that all bacteria are decreasing in meat and poultry products, not increasing," Brashears says. "The number one goal of any meat and poultry processor is to reduce or eliminate all the pathogens in the product before they are consumed."
She adds that while some claim that "superbugs" are commonly found on the surface of meat and poultry products, a true "superbug" is actually a bacterium that can cause a foodborne illness and is resistant to all antibiotics. This is a very rare occurrence, she said.
"In reality, by nature most bacteria do have some amount of resistance, but that does not make them a 'superbug.' Even the FDA says that the term is used too inappropriately and most antibiotic resistant bacteria aren't a threat to human health," Brashears says.
The video also explains the importance of properly cooking meat and poultry products to kill all bacteria, resistant or not, and addresses concerns about antibiotic residues in meat. Brashears notes that antibiotics are fed to animals with strict withdrawal times before an animal is processed. Meat and poultry products are tested for residues, and removed from the market if an illegal residue is found.
The Meat MythCrusher video series is produced by AMI in conjunction with the American Meat Science Association. The series seeks to bust some of the most common myths surrounding meat and poultry production and processing.
The series is now in its fourth year and includes more than 25 videos which have been viewed more than 50,000 times. Other video topics include myths surrounding Meatless Monday, hormone use in animals, ammonia in ground beef, grass-fed beef and more.
All of the videos and more are available at www.meatmythcrushers.com.