(NAFB)--According to a study released by Consumer Reports - potential disease-causing organisms were found in most of the 257 ground turkey samples it tested. The National Turkey Federation says the findings of the Consumer Reports article are misleading. The group says a number of alarming claims are made based on an extremely small sampling of ground turkey products. NTF President Joel Brandenberger says Consumer Reports had the opportunity to foster a serious, thoughtful discussion about food safety - but chose to sensationalize findings and mislead people instead. NTF is refuting numerous claims and challenging the methodology in the report.
While the magazine reported high levels of certain pathogens on the samples tested - NTF says it’s important to note that the two most prevalent aren’t considered sources of foodborne illness. In addition - the group’s Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Lisa Picard says the pathogens are found everywhere. NTF points out that the magazine found almost no prevalence of the two pathogens that are of public health concern.
The National Turkey Federation argues that the Consumer Reports article is also misleading about the significance of its antibiotic findings. The Director of the Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Group said the findings suggested there is a direct relationship between the routine use of antibiotics in animal production and increased antibiotic resistance in bacteria on ground turkey. According to NTF - one of the antibiotics for which Consumer Reports tested hasn’t been used in poultry production for almost eight years - meaning resistance is highly unlikely to be farm farm-animal use - and two other drug classes are used infrequently in animal agriculture. Picard stresses that the turkey industry judiciously uses antibiotics under strict guidelines set by federal law to restore health and to treat and control disease. Picard says proper animal health practices and an important reason the U.S. food supply is one of the highest quality, safest and most affordable in the world.