Animal Agriculture

Working Toward a More Sustainable and Humane System

Food Safety and Sustainability in Animal Agriculture

Why it matters

There’s a high cost to cheap protein. The way we raise the animals destined for our dinner tables has a direct impact on the health and safety of our food. There should be no debate: It’s crucial to eliminate the routine use of antibiotics in farm animals.

We know that all meat may contain harmful bacteria unless properly cooked. But how serious is the problem? We tested hundreds of samples of beef, poultry and pork, and routinely found pathogens like E. coli, Salmonella, enterococcus, campylobacter, Yersinia and more—including some that have become multi-drug resistant. Sure, you can cook it thoroughly, but the fact is, we believe pathogens like Salmonella shouldn’t be on your meat in the first place.

Thankfully, the news isn’t all bad. Whether it’s beef, shrimp or chicken, our testing shows that animals raised without antibiotics or even more sustainably are less likely to harbor multidrug-resistant bacteria than meat from conventionally raised animals. That tells us raising farm animals sustainably isn’t just good for them, it’s good for us too.

The routine use of antibiotics in animal agriculture is a serious threat to public health.

Consumer Reports Testing

Testing meat and poultry

Over the years, we’ve tested chicken, turkey, beef, pork and shrimp for bacteria that can make you sick. Our tests show that bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics are commonly found on meat and poultry found at your grocery store. We have also found that the way meat is produced has an impact on the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. 

Food Safety Testing Reports and Articles

Testing beef. August 2015.

Testing shrimp. April 2015.

Testing chicken. January 2014.

Consumer Reports investigation: ground turkey. June 2013.

Testing ground turkey. May 2013. 

Testing pork chops and ground pork. January 2013.

2015 Report

Beef Report

We tested beef for bacteria, and we take a closer look at the interconnections between food safety and animal raising practices. We also evaluated the different labels you are likely to see on packages of beef, and tell you what they mean so you can make informed decisions when shopping for beef.


Labels on Meat and Poultry: What Do They Mean?

You can use our detailed labels guides to make more informed decisions about the health, safety and sustainability of the meat and poultry you buy, and help move the marketplace in a better direction. Label Guides for Meat and Poultry

Beef Labels Chart 2015

Chicken Labels – Coming Soon

Pork Labels – Coming Soon

Routine Drug Use in Livestock and Poultry – What Consumers Can Do

Routine Drug Use in Livestock and Poultry Production

Our November 2015 report explores the routine use of drugs in livestock and poultry production, and shows how you can make informed purchasing decisions by understanding how labels address drug use. Read the report

Routine Drug Use in Livestock and Poultry – What Consumers Can Do