Quantcast

America's Favorite Meat Is Also One of Its Most Lethal Commodities

Food

Grocery shoppers probably assume the food on display is safe to take home, but in the poultry aisle, that simple assumption could lead people directly into the emergency room.

"More deaths were attributed to poultry than to any other commodity," according to an analysis of outbreaks from 1998 through 2008 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Consumer Reports' recent analysis of more than 300 raw chicken breasts purchased at stores across the U.S. found potentially harmful bacteria in 97 percent of the chicken, including organic brands.

Consumer Reports' findings were set in motion after the national salmonella outbreak that were linked to three Foster Farms chicken plants. In that case 389 people were infected, and 40 percent of them were hospitalized—double the usual percentage in most outbreaks linked to salmonella, reports the Organic Consumers Association (OCA).

Forty-eight million people fall sick every year from eating food tainted with salmonella, campylobacter, E. coli and other contaminants, and "more deaths were attributed to poultry than to any other commodity," according to an analysis of outbreaks from 1998 through 2008 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Despite the data, chicken remains America's favorite meat with 83 pounds being purchased per capita annually.

Here's what you should know before buying your next package of chicken, according to OCA:

  • It's unrealistic to expect the uncooked chicken one buys won't contain any potentially harmful bacteria. That's one reason shoppers are advised to prevent raw chicken or its juices from touching any other food and to cook it to at least 165°F. Yet some bacteria are more worrisome than others as OCA's latest tests produced troubling findings. More than half of the samples contained fecal contaminants, with about half of them harboring at least one bacterium that was resistant to three or more commonly prescribed antibiotics.

  • Public health officials say the resistance to antibiotics is a major concern and in September the CDC released a landmark report outlining the dire threat it poses to one's health. Antibiotic-­resistant infections are linked to at least 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. If antibiotic-­resistant bacteria continue their spread, it could lead to deadly infections after routine surgery or even a seemingly innocuous cut because the drugs that doctors prescribe will have lost their effectiveness.

  • Further OCA tests showed that resistant bacteria are commonly found in chicken at your local grocery store, like the salmonella strains found during the Foster Farms outbreak. 

Refer to the Consumer Reports video below for additional coverage on the issue:

Visit EcoWatch’s FOOD and HEALTH pages for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

"It would be great to see all the candidates join Elizabeth Warren in taking the No Big Ag Money Pledge," said Citizens Regeneration Lobby's Alexis Baden-Mayer. Peter Blanchard / Flickr / ric (CC BY 2.0)

By Andrea Germanos

Food system justice and environmental advocates on Wednesday urged all Democratic presidential hopefuls to follow in the footsteps of Sen. Elizabeth Warren in signing a pledge rejecting campaign cash from food and agribusiness corporations.

Read More
A new study shows the impact Native Americans had on landscapes was "small" compared to what followed by Europeans. The findings provide important takeaway for conservation in New England today, seen above in a view of areas surrounding Rangeley Lakes in Maine. Cappi Thompson / Moment / Getty Images

There's a theory going around that Native Americans actively managed the land the lived on, using controlled burns to clear forests. It turns out that theory is wrong. New research shows that Native Americans barely altered the landscape at all. It was the Europeans who did that, as ZME Science reported.

Read More
Sponsored
Loggers operate in an area of lodgepole pine trees killed by the mountain pine beetle in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest on Sept. 13, 2019 in Montana. As climate change makes summers hotter and drier in the Northern Rockies, forests are threatened with increasing wildfire activity, deadly pathogens and insect infestations, including the mountain pine beetle outbreak. The insects have killed more than six million acres of forest across Montana since 2000. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President Donald Trump told a crowd at the Davos World Economic Forum Tuesday that the U.S. will join the Forum's 1t.org initiative to restore and conserve one trillion trees around the world, according to The Hill.

Read More
Wild rice flatbread is one of many Native recipes found in Indigikitchen. Indigikitchen

The online cooking show Indigikitchen is providing a platform to help disseminate Indigenous food recipes — while helping eaters recognize their impact on the planet and Native communities.

Read More

On the Solomon Islands, rats and poachers are the two major threats to critically endangered sea turtles. A group of local women have joined forces to help save the animals from extinction.

Read More