Minced beef, chicken pose most risks to health
Melbourne: Minced beef and chicken cause more hospitalisations than any other meat, an analysis of more than 33,000 cases of foodborne illness has shown.
The report by the US Centre for Science in Public Interest says chicken nuggets, ham and sausage pose the lowest risk of foodborne illness.
The group used US government data on 1700 outbreaks over 12 years to analyse salmonella, E. coli, listeria and other pathogens that were definitively linked to a certain meat.
To calculate which meats caused the most risk, CSPI ranked the foods in which contamination was most likely to cause hospitalisations.
Some meats may have had more illnesses but were less likely to cause severe illness.
After beef mince and chicken, CSPI categorised turkey and steak as "high risk" and deli meat, pork, roast beef and beef or pork barbeque as "medium risk".
Salmonella and E. coli, pathogens that contaminate meat and poultry during slaughter and processing, accounted for a third of the illnesses surveyed.
Clostridium perfringens, a lesser-known pathogen that usually grows after processing when foods are left at improper temperatures for too long by consumers or food establishments, accounted for another third.
While a large number of chicken illnesses were due to clostridium perfringens, chicken led to many hospitalisations partly because of the high incidence of salmonella in chicken that isn`t properly cooked.
Most of the beef mince illnesses were from E. coli, which is found in the intestinal tracts of cattle and can transfer to the carcass if the meat isn`t handled properly during slaughter.
Beef mince can be riskier than steak and other beef products because pathogens are spread during the grinding process.
According to the report, listeria , salmonella and E. coli required the most hospitalisations.