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Your holiday ham is probably crawling with bacteria

health120711_optBY PAM LOBLEY
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM

A new study by Consumer Reports found that pork samples from across six states were contaminated with bacteria. A whopping 69 percent of the pork tested was found positive for yersinia, a little known pathogen that infects approximately 100,000 people a year.

As reported on ABC News, yersinia can cause fever, cramps and bloody diarrhea. Those symptoms mimic many other viruses and bacteria, which leads the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to believe that there are probably about 120 cases of yersinia for every one case that is actually diagnosed.

It is well-known that chicken can harbor salmonella and ground beef can carry e-coli, but pork has received relatively little attention as a bacteria carrier. The pork in this study had only a three percent to four percent rate of salmonella or listeria contamination.

Yersinia is easy to kill by cooking. Pork should be cooked to 145 degrees, and ground pork to 160 degrees. Any surfaces or dishes that are touched by the raw pork should be washed immediately or put into the dishwasher to avoid spreading the germs around the kitchen.

 

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