Channel 4 documentary claims E. Coli is found in 90% of US turkeys


Coming to a supermarket near you? American pork is SIX times more likely to contain salmonella than the British variety, claims study amid fears over food standards in a US-UK trade deal

  • E. coli allegedly found in 90% of turkey products destined for US supermarkets
  • US pork up to six times more likely to have salmonella than UK pork, study claims
  • 13% of pork samples tested for salmonella in US meat were positive for bacteria
  • E. coli was also found by experts in 80% of chicken, 70% of beef and 60% of pork
  • Preliminary results of US study be aired in Channel 4 Dispatches at 8pm tonight

American pork is up to six times more likely to contain salmonella than British pork, a study claims.

Around 13 per cent of pork samples tested for salmonella in US retail meat were positive for the bacteria, which can cause diarrhoea and vomiting.

E. coli, another potentially harmful bacterium, was also found in 60 per cent of pork, 70 per cent of beef, 80 per cent of chicken and 90 per cent of turkey products destined for American shops and supermarkets.

Channel 4 presenter Morland Sanders in a publicity photograph for tonight’s Dispatches documentary, Dirty Secrets Of American Food: Coming To A Supermarket Near You?

The study is being carried out by Professor Lance Price at his lab at George Washington University.

He is in the middle of a five-year review looking at bacterial contamination in American retail meat. 

The preliminary results will be aired in a Channel 4 Dispatches programme tonight.

Professor Price said: ‘I find it a little disturbing because E. coli is an indicator of faecal contamination, so most of the meat is contaminated with faeces, and the faeces within it has these dangerous pathogens.

The preliminary results of a five-year review looking at bacterial contamination in US retail meat will be aired in the Channel 4 programme tonight, presented by Morland Sanders

The preliminary results of a five-year review looking at bacterial contamination in US retail meat will be aired in the Channel 4 programme tonight, presented by Morland Sanders

‘I would say it’s an unacceptable rate given that it is controllable, but the industry has been very successful in fighting any kind of regulations there.

‘With salmonella, Campylobacter, you’re going to get diarrhoea, you’re going to be sick for a few days and you’ll get over it, but if you have any kind of compromised immune system, they can cause serious invasive infections; that is, they can get into your blood and kill you.’

The study also explores the potential health impact of six growth hormones used by US beef producers to make cattle grow bigger, faster. 

All six have been banned in European Union countries for more than 30 years.

Pigs stand in a pen at a farm in Iowa on May 27. The study claims US pork is up to six times more likely to contain salmonella than British pork

Pigs stand in a pen at a farm in Iowa on May 27. The study claims US pork is up to six times more likely to contain salmonella than British pork

One in particular, 17-beta estradiol, was deemed by European regulators to carry an increased risk of cancer in certain population sub-groups.

The rulebook for American producers is far less strict than in the UK, Professor Price told the programme.

He also said European regulators are much more rigorous in their testing of how farming practices could impact the health of consumers.

British farmers are concerned quantities of such products could begin appearing on UK supermarket shelves if standards are lowered in order to strike a post-Brexit trade deal with countries like America.

Dispatches – Dirty Secrets Of American Food: Coming To A Supermarket Near You? is on Channel 4 tonight at 8pm

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