WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Not including diet-related problems, which meats are most likely to put you in the hospital? Chicken and ground beef are the two meats with the highest risk, according to a report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
The group's conclusions are based on outbreak reports and the likelihood of hospitalizations based on the diseases that can be found in each particular meat that was researched.
There were 12 categories of meat accessed, including: chicken, ground beef, beef (other), steak, turkey, barbecue, deli meat, pork, roast beef, chicken nuggets, ham and sausage.
The meat was organized into four risk groups: highest, high, medium and low.
The non-profit group studied 33,000 foodborne illness cases over 12 years. Chicken and ground beef were in the highest risk category due to the high number of outbreaks and illnesses and the severity of those illnesses. The report found that about half of those infected due to ground beef ended up being hospitalized.
"Meat and poultry producers must bear primary responsibility for keeping pathogens out of their products, but when it comes to beef, chicken, and other raw meats, restaurateurs and home cooks must treat them like hazardous materials and take steps to minimize risk," said CSPI senior food safety attorney, Sarah Klein. "Care should be taken to avoid spreading germs from meat around the kitchen, and meat thermometers should be used to ensure that ground beef, chicken, and other meats are fully cooked."
Turkey isn't as much of a risk as chicken and ground beef, but still remains in the "high" category. The study reports that leaving turkey out too long during the holidays may be a contributing factor as to why November and December have many turkey-related Clostridium illnesses.
The report categorized steak as "medium" risk because it is seared on both sides, which prevents surface bacteria on the meat.
Researchers found that chicken nuggets, ham and sausage pose the least threat of hospitalization for meat-eaters.