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Investigation Finds High Rate of Food Poisoning Bacteria in Pork

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Pork eaters beware: a new investigation has found high rates of a potentially harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning, especially in kids.

Consumer Reports tested 198 samples of meat from pork chops and ground pork and found yersinia enterocolitica in 69 percent of them.  The samples came from six U.S. cities and included many major store brands, according to the magazine.

What makes this bacteria dangerous is that it's resistant to antibiotics used to treat infections.  Consumer Reports says this can be a result of farmers feeding antibiotics to healthy pigs.

“Antibiotics are routinely fed to healthy animals at low levels.  This practice promotes the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria which are a major public health concern,” said Dr. Urvashi Rangan, Director of Safety and Sustainability at Consumer Reports.  “Infections caused by resistant bacteria are more difficult to treat and can lead to increased suffering and costs.”

Each year, yersinia enterocolitica causes foodborne illness in about 100,000 Americans, the magazine reports.  It advises consumers to cook pork thoroughly and wash their hands after handling raw meat.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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