Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Dangerous Chicken

I don't know how many of you cook but all but a few of you probably at least eat chicken in some form at least once a week and many of you probably even more often. The latest Consumer Reports has a real eye opening study in the latest issue.

Back in 2003 they did a study on how clean the chickens were that we bought at the local market and found that 49% were contaminated with one or both of the bacteria campylobacter or salmonella. Both of these pathogens will make you very sick if consumed and even lead to serious complications like Guillian-Barre.

They have just completed a new study and it is now even worse. The latest study showed that today 83% of fresh chicken was contaminated with one or both. That number is bad enough but within it hides something even more alarming. The organic, no antibiotic, minimally processed varieties ( you know the ones you pay extra for like Bell&Evans, Maverick Ranch, Murray's, Whole Foods) are, on average, the worst offenders. Purdue, Tyson, Foster Farms and Pilgrim's Pride are bad as well with Tyson the worst of all.

So the 411 is that if you use fresh chicken in your kitchen you can assume that it is always going to be contaminated with at least one or both of these very dangerous organisms. You are going to have to be extra careful when handling, cleaning up and cooking chicken and always cook it to at least 165 degrees F. Get yourself and instant read meat thermometer to be sure.

And remember, that just because you go out of your way to buy organic or no antibiotic chickens doesn't make a hill of beans when it comes to getting a clean bird. Enjoy your chicken.

No comments: