40% of Packaged Meat Tainted Superbug C. Diff Bacteria

JoNel Aleccia
MSNBC
November 18, 2008

A potentially deadly intestinal germ increasingly found in hospitals is also showing up in a more unsavory setting: grocery store meats.

More than 40 percent of packaged meats sampled from three Arizona chain stores tested positive for Clostridium difficile, a gut bug known as C. diff., according to newly complete analysis of 2006 data collected by a University of Arizona scientist.

Nearly 30 percent of the contaminated samples of ground beef, pork and turkey and ready-to-eat meats like summer sausage were identical or closely related to a super-toxic strain of C. diff blamed for growing rates of illness and death in the U.S. — raising the possibility that the bacterial infections may be transmitted through food.

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