This Consumer Report Confirms What You Knew All Along About Organic Meat

Red-meat eaters, before you savor that last Summer burger or celebrate #TacoTuesdays, you might want to read this. According to a new report, approximately 80 percent of conventionally produced beef contains two or more types of health-causing bacteria such as E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus (a common cause for skin infections and food poisoning).

In the Consumer Reports study, researchers bought 300 packages of ground beef from 103 stores across the country. Of those, 181 packages were conventionally produced ¡ª meaning the cows were raised on feedlots, given antibiotics, and fed a mixture of soy and corn diet ¡ª while 119 packages were listed as sustainable ¡ª the cows were not given antibiotics and were raised in pastures.

When the contents were analyzed for samples of bacteria, not surprisingly, the conventional meat had a greater risk of making someone sick. More concerning was the fact conventional beef contained more antibiotic-resistant bacteria like S. aureus bacteria called MRSA, which kills 11,000 people in the US per year.

Why do conventionally raised cows lead to bacteria-filled beef? The focus on feedlot-raised cows is to make them as fat and big as possible, which is why farmers use corn and soy instead of grass. Cows can’t digest this feed very well, so it creates an acidic environment in the cow’s digestive tract, which can lead to ulcers and infections. Research shows that these digestion problems can lead to higher levels of E. coli in cattle waste. The cows’ unnatural diet is further induced by farmers feeding their cattle almost anything to fatten them up, including gummy bears, lemon drops, chocolate, and even plastic pellets, which can also lead to unsafe meat.

Scary news, although those in favor of conventionally produced meat, like Mindy Brashears, a Texas Tech University food safety professor, still say the beef industry in the US is safe. Furthermore, the USDA pointed out that none of the E. coli found in the consumer report was the toxin-producing variety.

Ready to completely give up meat? If you’re shaking your head, then remember to choose organic meat when possible, cook your ground beef thoroughly ¡ª at least to 160 degrees Fahrenheit ¡ª and use these four ways to cook a burger that’s safe to eat to keep your meat-lover soul content.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts

This Consumer Report Confirms What You Knew All Along About Organic Meat

Red-meat eaters| before you savor that last Summer burger or celebrate #TacoTuesdays| you might want to read this. According to a new report| approximately 80 percent of conventionally produced beef contains two or more types of health-causing bacteria such as E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus (a common cause for skin infections and food poisoning).

In the Consumer Reports study| researchers bought 300 packages of ground beef from 103 stores across the country. Of those| 181 packages were conventionally produced meaning the cows were raised on feedlots| given antibiotics| and fed a mixture of soy and corn diet while 119 packages were listed as sustainable the cows were not given antibiotics and were raised in pastures.

When the contents were analyzed for samples of bacteria| not surprisingly| the conventional meat had a greater risk of making someone sick. More concerning was the fact conventional beef contained more antibiotic-resistant bacteria like S. aureus bacteria called MRSA| which kills 11|000 people in the US per year.

Why do conventionally raised cows lead to bacteria-filled beef? The focus on feedlot-raised cows is to make them as fat and big as possible| which is why farmers use corn and soy instead of grass. Cows can’t digest this feed very well| so it creates an acidic environment in the cow’s digestive tract| which can lead to ulcers and infections. Research shows that these digestion problems can lead to higher levels of E. coli in cattle waste. The cows’ unnatural diet is further induced by farmers feeding their cattle almost anything to fatten them up| including gummy bears| lemon drops| chocolate| and even plastic pellets| which can also lead to unsafe meat.

Scary news| although those in favor of conventionally produced meat| like Mindy Brashears| a Texas Tech University food safety professor| still say the beef industry in the US is safe. Furthermore| the USDA pointed out that none of the E. coli found in the consumer report was the toxin-producing variety.

Ready to completely give up meat? If you’re shaking your head| then remember to choose organic meat when possible| cook your ground beef thoroughly ¡ª at least to 160 degrees Fahrenheit ¡ª and use these four ways to cook a burger that’s safe to eat to keep your meat-lover soul content.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts

Make Your Fresh Produce Last Longer With These 13 Tricks

There’s nothing worse than loading up during your weekly trip to the farmers market and then forgetting about all your goodies, only to find them languishing limply in your crisper drawer days later. To keep produce fresher for longer, follow these tips.

    Some fruits and veggies produce a gas called ethylene as they ripen. This gas can prematurely ripen foods that are sensitive to it, so keep ethylene-producing foods away from ethylene-sensitive foods. Avocados, bananas, cantaloupes, kiwis, mangoes, nectarines, pears, plums, and tomatoes, for example, should be stored in a different place than your apples, broccoli, carrots, leafy greens, and watermelon. Get a longer list of fruits to store separately here.Keep potatoes, onions, and tomatoes in a cool, dry place, but not in the fridge. The cold will ruin their flavor.Store unripe fruits and veggies like pears, peaches, plums, kiwis, mangoes, apricots, avocados, melons, and bananas on the counter. Once they’re ripe, move them to the fridge. Banana peels will turn dark brown, but it won’t affect the flesh. Store salad greens and fresh herbs in bags filled with a little air and sealed tightly.Citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines, lemons, and limes, will do fine for up to a week in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight, but you can lengthen their lives by storing them in the fridge in a mesh or perforated plastic bag.Wrap celery in aluminum foil and store it in the veggie bin in the fridge.Other types of produce such as carrots, lettuce, and broccoli start to spoil as soon as they’re picked, so place these in separate plastic baggies in the crisper in your fridge ASAP (make sure they’re dry since moisture speeds up spoiling).Cut the leafy tops of your pineapple off and store your pineapple upside down. This helps redistribute sugars that sink to the bottom during shipping and also helps it keep longer.Avoid washing berries until right before you’re ready to eat them. Wetness encourages mold growth.If you like to wash, dry, and cut your fruits and veggies all at once, store them in covered glass containers lined in paper towels. You’ll not only be able to see them ¡ª which reminds you to eat them ¡ª but you’ll also be keeping moisture out.If you normally forget to use up fruits and veggies if you put them in the crisper, store your veggies in plain sight in Evert-Fresh or reusable produce bags that mimic your crisper’s function.Buy only what you need. Go to the market more frequently, or if that’s not possible, plan out your meals ahead of time so you only buy what you know you’ll use.If you notice any rotten produce, compost it immediately before it starts to spoil the rest of the produce.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jae Payne

Make Your Fresh Produce Last Longer With These 13 Tricks

There’s nothing worse than loading up during your weekly trip to the farmers market and then forgetting about all your goodies| only to find them languishing limply in your crisper drawer days later. To keep produce fresher for longer| follow these tips.

    Some fruits and veggies produce a gas called ethylene as they ripen. This gas can prematurely ripen foods that are sensitive to it| so keep ethylene-producing foods away from ethylene-sensitive foods. Avocados| bananas| cantaloupes| kiwis| mangoes| nectarines| pears| plums| and tomatoes| for example| should be stored in a different place than your apples| broccoli| carrots| leafy greens| and watermelon. Get a longer list of fruits to store separately here.Keep potatoes| onions| and tomatoes in a cool| dry place| but not in the fridge. The cold will ruin their flavor.Store unripe fruits and veggies like pears| peaches| plums| kiwis| mangoes| apricots| avocados| melons| and bananas on the counter. Once they’re ripe| move them to the fridge. Banana peels will turn dark brown| but it won’t affect the flesh. Store salad greens and fresh herbs in bags filled with a little air and sealed tightly.Citrus fruits such as oranges| tangerines| lemons| and limes| will do fine for up to a week in a cool| dark place| away from direct sunlight| but you can lengthen their lives by storing them in the fridge in a mesh or perforated plastic bag.Wrap celery in aluminum foil and store it in the veggie bin in the fridge.Other types of produce such as carrots| lettuce| and broccoli start to spoil as soon as they’re picked| so place these in separate plastic baggies in the crisper in your fridge ASAP (make sure they’re dry since moisture speeds up spoiling).Cut the leafy tops of your pineapple off and store your pineapple upside down. This helps redistribute sugars that sink to the bottom during shipping and also helps it keep longer.Avoid washing berries until right before you’re ready to eat them. Wetness encourages mold growth.If you like to wash| dry| and cut your fruits and veggies all at once| store them in covered glass containers lined in paper towels. You’ll not only be able to see them ¡ª which reminds you to eat them ¡ª but you’ll also be keeping moisture out.If you normally forget to use up fruits and veggies if you put them in the crisper| store your veggies in plain sight in Evert-Fresh or reusable produce bags that mimic your crisper’s function.Buy only what you need. Go to the market more frequently| or if that’s not possible| plan out your meals ahead of time so you only buy what you know you’ll use.If you notice any rotten produce| compost it immediately before it starts to spoil the rest of the produce.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jae Payne