Consumer Reports’ Ground Beef Study Elicits Differing Interpretations

August 25, 2015

With its newly released study, Consumer Reports is arguing that ground beef from sustainably raised cows is safer than that from conventionally raised ones. Industry, however, says that the study shows low levels of pathogens in meat.

The consumer organization tested ground beef samples for bacteria and found that all of it contained bacteria that signified fecal contamination.

Twenty percent contained Clostridium perfringens, and 10 percent contained a strain of toxin-producing Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Just 1 percent of samples contained Salmonella.

What Consumer Reports found most troubling was that beef from conventionally raised cows was more likely to have bacteria overall, as well as bacteria…