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stephanie-web Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3 and The CW Philly 57’s Emmy Award-win...
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By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Risky meat that makes you sick.

Forty-eight million Americans get sick every year from food poisoning. Most of the time it causes an uncomfortable upset stomach, but it can be serious, even deadly.

Now, a new report identifies which meats are most likely to be contaminated, and what you can do to protect yourself.

Ground beef used for hamburgers, an American favorite, and chicken are two popular staples. And they cause more food poisoning than any other types of meat, according to a new Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) report on foodborne illness.

“Consumers need to treat it all as if it’s a hazardous material and make sure they’re very careful if they want to enjoy it,” said Sara Klein, with CSPI.

The group analyzed more than 33,000 cases of foodborne illness and found ground beef and chicken caused more hospitalizations than other meat. People were sickened mainly from salmonella and E. coli.

Other high risk meat includes steak and turkey. Careful handling and thorough cooking usually prevents contamination, but that’s changing.

“One of the surprises of the report was we saw so many illnesses that were linked to bacteria called Clostridium,” said Klein.

That’s what’s known as a “rebound bacteria.” It’s heat resistant and grows after food is cooked and left out for an hour or two. Food should be consumed relatively soon after it’s cooked.

“That’s why consumers need to be especially cautious at banquets and buffets where food sits out for a long time.

The report says chicken nuggets, ham and sausage pose the lowest risk of foodborne illness.

For more on the CSPI’s Risky Meat Report, visit: http://cspinet.org/foodsafety/riskymeat.html

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