Two new reports released today raise concerns about the amount of bacteria in raw poultry and call into question the actions of the agency responsible for keeping meat safe.
In the aftermath of the major Salmonella outbreak linked to Foster Farms chicken that sickened nearly 400 people earlier this year,“The high cost of cheap chicken,” released by Consumer Reports, and “Weaknesses in FSIS’ Salmonella Regulation,” issued by The Pew Charitable Trusts, put a spotlight on the safety of the nation’s most popular meat.
The Consumer Reports study, which was also funded by Pew, found high levels of bacteria – including strains that were antibiotic resistant — in more than 300 randomly purchased raw chicken breasts produced by different companies, including organic brands, in stores across the country. Pathogens, such as Salmonella and Campylobacter, that can cause foodborne illnesses were found in high percentages in most of the brands, along with E. Coli strains, including Entero and Klebsiella, that USDA does not consider food safety risks.
For example, 13 percent of Pilgrim’s chicken tested positive for Salmonella and 55 percent tested positive for Campylobacter.