An article out last week about organic food argued, among other things, that while organic meat does have lower levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria than conventionally raised meat, that really doesn't mean much since bacteria are killed during cooking anyway. Our response: Hogwash.
If that were true, "we would not have had 136 illnesses and one death from antibiotic-resistant salmonella in ground turkey last year, or an estimated tens of millions of food-borne illnesses every year," wrote Jean Halloran, director of food-policy initiatives for Consumer Reports, in a letter to the editor published today in the New York Times.
"Unfortunately, bacteria survive," Halloran says. "Most cooks do not treat their kitchen like a Level 4 biohazard facility. The cook may use the same knife on raw meat and salad greens. The chicken from the grill may still be a bit pink in the middle, the beef burger rare."
That rift between real-world cooking practices and the controlled world of lab studies makes organic meat the safer choice for consumers, according to Halloran.