Your Chicken Is Probably Contaminated
LIANE HANSEN, host:
How safe is your chicken dinner? Apparently, not very. A recent Consumer Reports investigation put the birds to the test. They bought 382 uncooked whole chickens from over 100 different stores in 22 states and hired an outside lab to test for disease-causing bacteria. The results: two-thirds of the whole broiler chickens they tested harbored salmonella and another pathogen called campylobacter. Both are the leading bacterial causes of food-borne illness. Urvashi Rangan is the author of the Consumer Reports study. She says the results are troubling.
Ms. URVASHI RANGAN (Consumer Reports): This industry, to us, remains as a dirty industry.
HANSEN: Consumer Reports says organic chickens fared the best in their testing.
Ms. RANGAN: Almost 60 percent of air-chilled organic were found to be clean of any pathogens. Perdue came in next at about 56 percent clean. And the worst players in our deck were Tyson and Foster Farms, coming in at less than 20 percent clean.
HANSEN: The National Chicken Council has responded to this study. In a written statement, the group said, quote, "like all fresh foods, raw chicken may have some microorganisms present, but these are destroyed by the heat of normal cooking," end quote.
So, if you're weary about serving up another whole chicken, experts say there are ways to keep yourself and your families safe. When purchasing raw chicken at the supermarket, make sure it's well wrapped and kept in a plastic bag. This will help protect your hands and other groceries.
When cooking the chicken, use a meat thermometer to make sure it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees, which is necessary to kill bacteria. Finally, splurging on a cutting board designating just for raw meat is a very good idea.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.