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What's really in your ground beef? Study suggests bacteria, fecal matter

Posted at 8:45 PM, Aug 25, 2015

The ground beef you buy at the grocery store could likely contain bacteria, fecal matter and things that could make you sick.

A new Consumer Reports study looked into nearly 500 pounds of ground beef from grocery stores across the country.

According to the study, every pound contained at least some bacteria that signaled fecal content. Twenty percent contained food bacteria that causes food poisoning, and one percent contained salmonella.

"I think that's really gross and I don't want to be eating that," one shopper said to 7NEWS in Denver on Tuesday.

"The product based upon what it is it's not surprising that it would have those elements in it," another added.

In comparison, grass-fed beef that was raised without antibiotics was less than half as likely to contain contaminants and bacteria.

"When you raise animal on pasture, feed them food they're supposed to be eating, and keep them healthy and content and use a healthy, clean slaughter process you don't have the problems you have when you're trying to produce greater quantities of inexpensive meat," Marilyn Noble of the American Grassfed Association said.

That is part of the reason why grass-fed products are more expensive compared to normally produced beef from "feed houses" that raise cattle in large quantities.

"It's an efficient way to produce a lot of meat inexpensively, but it's not the cleanest or healthiest way. And in this country we've gotten used to inexpensive meant. but there's a price to pay for that," Noble added.

Whatever meat you buy, experts recommend cooking ground beef to at least 160 degrees and not serving it rare or medium rare.

Read the full reporthere.