11/22/2011 01:36 pm ET

Get Ready to Gobble Drug-Resistant Bacteria

Thanksgiving is just days away, a time to feast with family. And to avoid food-borne bacterial infections.

The National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, or NARMS, is a joint effort of the CDC, the FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Microbiologist Lance Price talked about NARMS data last month at the ScienceWriters2011 conference in Flagstaff:

“What’s the probability of not finding drug-resistant bacteria on your meat and poultry? So pork chops you have about a one-in-10 chance of NOT finding drug-resistant bacteria. And this is just based on four bacteria that NARMS tests for: campylobactor, salmonella, E. coli and Enterococcus. Ground beef, one in 20. Chicken breasts, less than a one-in-100 chance of not finding drug-resistant bacteria. And then ground turkey, forget it: less than a one in 300 chance. Pretty much every sample of ground turkey will have drug-resistant bacteria.”

So remember, if you buy ground turkey for meatballs or burgers once the whole bird is gone, cook it. Thoroughly.