Friday, January 15, 2010

Healthy Change #4: Chicken Safety 101

Maybe I should title this "Chicken Safety 102" because cooks everywhere understand the importance of storing and handling chicken. But that's after we get it home to our own kitchens. What about while it's at the store?

Consumer Reports tested hundreds of chickens at stores across the nation and found that two-thirds of the chickens harbored either one or both of the bacterias that cause campylobacter and salmonella.  The cleanest chicken they found was "air-chilled" organic chicken (about 60% tested were clean).  Just another reason to purchase organic!  Here's something I learned in the report.  "Air-chilled" is a process where carcasses are refrigerated and misted rather than dunked in cold, chlorinated water.  Chlorinated water?  Did you know that chicken was bathed in chlorinated water?  I didn't!

Here's another scary fact.  Out of those hundreds of chickens tested, 68% percent of the salmonella and 60% of the campylobacter bacteria was resistant to one or more antibiotics.  My 2 1/2 year old son is prone to upper respiratory infections.  He's been on more antibiotics in his 2 1/2 years than I've taken my entire life.  Tubes helped with the ear infections and now we battle sinus infections. The last one took 3 different antibiotics and almost 2 months to clear up.  He definitely does not need more antibiotics in the foods he eats!

According to the CDC, approximately 3.4 million Americans suffer from eating chicken and other foods infected with salmonella and campylobacter, 25,500 end up in hospitals and 500 die.  The USDA requires chicken to be tested for salmonella, but not campylobacter.

If you are interested in reading how individual chicken brands scored in the test as well as more tips on what you can do to until chicken becomes "cleaner", check out the article on chicken safety.

Don't forget to enter my give-away for a free blender.  No strings attached...promise!


Susan said...

I wanted to thank you for sharing your 'Ten Changes...'. It is really eye opening and has made me realize I need to research more of what we are eating.

We do organic dairy, but would love to eat more organic meats, etc.

Hope everyone is doing well! Thanks for all the information!

ZM said...

an allergist told me once that when testing children for milk and egg allergy, they can get a false positive...because the kid's really testing positive to the trace antibiotics in the egg or milk.