97% of chicken tested positive for harmful bacteria, 50% for fecal matter

Consumer Reports reports that 97% of all chickens they tested, nationwide, harbored dangerous bacteria, and some included antibiotic-resistant bacteria that’s particularly deadly.

Adding to the fun, Consumer Reports also found that nearly half the chicken tested had fecal matter on it.

Now, they do say that it’s not a surprise that chicken has bacteria on it.  Even the organic chicken they tested had bacteria.  This is why the powers that be are so insistent that you cook chicken to an appropriate internal temperature of 165 degrees fahrenheit and that you use a special cutting board for chicken, so the blood/juices don’t infect your other food (e.g., cut vegetables) that you might not heat.

Consumer Reports warns that simply opening a package of raw chicken and then touching the counter, or faucet, with your hand can be enough to cause trouble – the bacteria can live for hours, or even days.  So you end up touching the faucet some time later, not thinking that you’ve just contaminated yourself, and touch your eye, mouth etc.

But one of the things that was particularly troubling is that at least half of the chicken samples tested positive for one of the new drug-resistant bacteria.  If you catch one of those, you could be in trouble.

What’s really scary is the figure that 80% of the antibiotics sold in America are for animals.  And what’s really sick, since the 1940s they’ve been giving chickens low levels of antibiotics because it makes them grow faster!  Not because they’re sick – simply because someone figured out the chickens grow faster and bigger this way.  Nice.

chicken-chicken-chicken

Oh and it gets even better:

A new USDA rule currently under consideration could make many changes in poultry production that food-safety advocates consider alarming and dangerous. It could increase the maximum line speeds at slaughter plants to 175 chickens a minute from the current maximum of 140 birds a minute. The new rule could also reassign some of the USDA inspectors’ duties to plant employees. Unlike federal inspectors, the plant employees are paid by the company, so they would have an incentive to overlook problems that might slow the lines down.

The rule would transfer more responsibility for safety to the companies that produce the chickens, allowing them to police themselves, says Tony Corbo, senior lobbyist at Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit group.

The USDA disputes the notion that the proposed new rule would have an impact on safety. And according to Dan Engeljohn, Ph.D., of the USDA, a government inspector would still be able to stop a line “if he has evidence to believe that the plant is not exercising good process control.”

As of July 2013 a pilot project was being tested in 24 poultry plants. The chicken industry considers the test, called the HIMP (for HACCP-Based Inspection Models Project), a success, and backs the proposal to adopt the new rule. But the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit whistle-­blower group, has released affidavits from federal inspectors working at HIMP plants, which allege that they were pressured to overlook possible food-safety concerns to keep the lines running.

And as I’d written about earlier, a lot of our chicken is now going to be processed in China, home of the exploding watermelon and the deadly dog food.  What could possibly go wrong?


(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • newbroom

    “I went back to chicken and pork. It’s getting slightly harder to justify…”
    I hear that!…There are many forces at work to compel us all to change our MEat first approach to dinnertime.
    Disease, price and morality are 3 reasons I see for this phenomenon. It’s unfortunate that the morality aspect isn’t more prevalent.

  • newbroom

    “there is corporate taint at every corner of the food supply.”
    They use every part, even the taint. Nothing goes to waste.

  • cole3244

    rather than criticize someone for pointing the truth try looking in the mirror and becoming the person you claim to be but really aren’t.

  • Fentwin

    “…i get criticism from the right on my civil rights stance and from the left on my animal rights activity…”

    “you aren’t disciplined enough or compassionate enough to make that effort so you come up with excuses to cover up your lack of moral or ethical standards …”

    “i knew it wouldn’t take much to get the insensitive side and anger out in the open, get it out and apply it too all those that you don’t like or agree with, not unlike the rw cons that attack you for your views.

    “being faux enlightened isn’t so attractive when the truth hits you in the face now is it, look in the mirror you might have more in common with the right than you realize.”

    Your sanctimony reminds me of a cartoon I once read. The punch line; The important thing is you’ve found a way to feel superior to both.

  • Fentwin

    But thats how the free market rolls. If enough people die from eating bad meat, it will affect their bottom line and they’ll adjust accordingly. Who needs up front inspectors when the angel of Death can do the job for free? (ugh)

    Its going to real fun if the TPP is passed.

  • Fentwin

    “We keep laying chickens and raise 25 each year for meat.”

    I can’t get past the first four words without being both amused and concerned. :)

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    And Creme Brulee

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Why did the chicken cross the road? ans: For a shower and free range.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “A lot of disease outbreaks have been linked to vegetables.” That’s true. Republicans are responsible for most deregulation.

  • cole3244

    it is realistic to tell people to stop eating meat its also healthier and makes more sense economically and environmentally.

    you aren’t disciplined enough or compassionate enough to make that effort so you come up with excuses to cover up your lack of moral or ethical standards not unlike the same people on the right you criticize for attacking you for doing the right thing on issues you consider important and they consider trite.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    I’m well aware of how the meat and dairy industry works. I worked for years on a research project at a feedlot, in their biochem lab, analyzing cattle feed samples, before, during, and after digestion. I got to see first hand how the animals were treated, and it was considered to be one of the better facilities in the country. I found it hard to imagine that there could even be places much worse.

    My only “agenda” is for people to look at these issues in a realistic way, and simply telling everyone to stop eating meat is not realistic, by any measure. I’m not criticizing you, nor your dietary choices. I just know that many people do not have the option to make the choices you have, and many people would still not choose it even if they were educated enough to make an informed decision. Repeating easily disproved talking points does nothing to help or educate anyone.

    The simple fact remains, the corporate food producers want to keep us all in the dark. They don’t want us to know where our food comes from. They don’t want us to know what goes into its production, They don’t want us to question their methods at all; be it animal, vegetable, mineral, or some combination thereof. They don’t even want us to know what we’re actually eating. And there is corporate taint at every corner of the food supply.

  • cole3244

    i knew it wouldn’t take much to get the insensitive side and anger out in the open, get it out and apply it too all those that you don’t like or agree with, not unlike the rw cons that attack you for your views.

    being faux enlightened isn’t so attractive when the truth hits you in the face now is it, look in the mirror you might have more in common with the right than you realize.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Spam troll

  • bertinanth764

    My Uncle Hunter recently
    got Ford C-Max just by part-time work online… look at here B­i­g­2­9­.­ℂ­o­m

  • Monoceros Forth

    Some of each, perhaps. I readily admit that when it comes to food, at any rate, I’m chiefly moved by the love of well-prepared and tasty cuisine. Cooking is one of my life’s joys and I have devoted considerable effort and emotion in striving to teach myself the art. Even when my mate and I stopped buying and cooking meat for a time our motives were far from completely ethical. We both wanted to save a bit of money on the food budget and, more to the point, I was eager for the challenge of trying new recipes and cooking experiments.

    My first thought when I do anything for enjoyment, cooking or otherwise, is not of its political implications. If I applied that dreary measure to everything I did I’d be a doctrinaire, monotonous, hectoring bore–rather like you.

  • cole3244

    if any comments i make get just one person to think and expand their empathy to a broader agenda and include those that have no voice (animals) that’s a win win for me at least.

  • cole3244

    your empathy is an act of convenience not ethics.

  • cole3244

    you do realize that much of the cows milk available to humans is taken from the supply that isn’t used on calves that are taken from their mothers and put in stalls in a dark environment so they don’t move to keep their meat tender then fed a milk substitute so they meet the standards for veal.
    of course many like yourself consider themselves enlightened but only to a particular agenda and the criticism i and others like myself get is not unlike what you and others get from the right for your defense of gay rights and other unpopular movements.
    i get criticism from the right on my civil rights stance and from the left on my animal rights activity but it is only because insensitivity is in the eyes of the beholder and the left is as repugnant as the right as far as i’m concerned.

  • Monoceros Forth

    And absolutely fantastic for making cookies.

  • theexog

    We keep laying chickens and raise 25 each year for meat. None of that disgusting stuff for us!

  • matt n

    I can live without eggs. And a lot longer than people who eat them. The most harmful commonly eaten food on the planet.

  • Indigo

    Either way, it’s a disgusting development.

  • matt n

    Eating meat and poultry today isn’t like eating meat and poultry 40 years ago.
    Now it’s all about animals being raised on top of each other. They are fed loads of antibiotics because of these crowded, unsanitary conditions. All in the name of making more money.
    I don’t trust the meat industry as far as I can throw a piano.
    Eat a plant-based diet. Cooked or raw doesn’t matter.
    It’s not hard to do. India as thousands of years of history of not eating meat and Indians really know how to make veg taste incredible. Learn how to cook that way and get yourself free of the meat and poultry industry. It’s wrecking our health as a nation.

  • dula

    Jesus, I’ve given up sugar and now all that’s left to eat is coconut oil and string beans.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    You’ll get no argument from me on that point. But all food is a commodity to be bought and sold for profit. Even if that means some people have to go without food, or some people have to eat tainted food. The morality behind the production of food is being obliterated, largely in the name of profit, but also in the name of expediency and efficiency.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    I’ve never really bought into that statement. The most likely reason other mammals do not consume milk once they’re weaned is simply availability. Mothers of all species carefully protect their milk. It’s a precious commodity, absolutely necessary for the survival of their young. But when an animal is given access to milk, many will readily accept it as consumable. Primates, raccoons, pigs, etc, will all consume milk when it is made available. I’m sure there are many other species that would as well. There are few other sources of such concentrated nutrition, and most animals are not beyond taking a meal wherever they can get it from.

    That being said, I can completely understand the argument that drinking another animal’s milk may not meet specific dietary needs, since it’s obviously a very species-specific tailored food source.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Meow!?!?

  • Bookbinder

    I’ve found that chicken hygiene cannot be underestimated. Chicken are notoriously poor at douching.

  • http://www.newmillgay.com/ The_Fixer

    Good Friggin’ Godfrey.

    I’ve nearly given up on enjoying eating – I have some dietary restrictions. Now I have the added feature of fearing what I eat.

    To the Libertarians out there – maybe you’ll re-think your lack of enthusiasm for government regulation the next time you get food poisoning. Ya know, “self-policing” on the part of food processing companies can very well wind up killing you.

    Greed – it’s one of the seven deadly sins in more ways than one.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Oh Joy!

    “Obama Budget Plans on Replacing USDA Poultry Inspectors with Industry Self Regulation”
    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?Itemid=74&id=31&jumival=10052&option=com_content&task=view

    HIGHEST MERCURY – Avoid eating: Mackerel (King), Marlin*. Orange Roughy*. Shark*. Swordfish*, Tilefish*, Tuna (Bigeye, Ahi)*
    http://www.nrdc.org/health/effects/mercury/guide.asp

    Go vegan or eat lots of hamburger, including lots of bone shards and blood from a pool of cattle to mask the brown/grey color. Just take your statins and try not to worry overmuch about bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Going vegan might make someone feel better about themselves, but it alone isn’t really a solution to the problems of our food supply being tainted by unaccountable corporate entities, and the generalized issue of over population making it challenging, but not impossible, to have a sustainable food supply.

    Well…it doesn’t solve the problem perhaps. But if one wishes to sustain oneself to the greatest possible degree on foodstuffs produced in a conscientious way, it’s far easy to do that eating only vegetables.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    The real question is: is the chicken tainted with chicken fecal matter, or fecal matter from something else? One could just be cross contamination from poor sanitation practices… the other is a whole different level of disgusting.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    There’s a reason why all meat has specific cooking temperatures you should be absolutely sure to reach when preparing a meal. Everyone who regularly prepares their own food could stand to attend a basic class in culinary sanitation. The CDC tries, but doesn’t really have the budget for adequate public education on food-borne illness… but time and time again, on so many issues, education proves to make a significant difference.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Not to mention ‘meat glue.’ http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?id=8642900

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers used in mass crop farming are doing just as much harm as the over use of antibiotics, growth hormones, and feed byproducts in animal farming. Not even considering the world-wide abuse of field workers, and the wanton destruction of natural habitat to make farm land, and the depletion of that land by poor farming practices in far too many places. Going vegan might make someone feel better about themselves, but it alone isn’t really a solution to the problems of our food supply being tainted by unaccountable corporate entities, and the generalized issue of over population making it challenging, but not impossible, to have a sustainable food supply.

  • Hue-Man

    I was thinking of how extra well done my mother cooked all roasts when I was a kid. I was a vegetarian at the time (a protest at the deer, bear, grouse, etc. that my father hunted that showed up on the dinner table) so didn’t have to try to chew my way through shoe leather!

  • Monoceros Forth

    He’s also the only animal to have invented the custard pie.

  • Monoceros Forth

    In order to reduce the risk of making people ill from E.coli, tenderized beef should be cooked to medium well.

    Hell, might as well dump the beef in a deep fryer and complete the job of ruining it :-/

  • Hue-Man

    Don’t let your contamination guard down for roast beef:
    “Mechanical tenderization is a common process used to make beef steaks and roasts more tender by piercing the beef with needles or blades. Consumers cannot tell by looking at the beef they are buying
    whether it has undergone the process.

    CBC Marketplace first investigated the process last year and found that tenderizing beef can drive E.coli from the surface of the meat into the centre. In order to reduce the risk of making people ill from E.coli, tenderized beef should be cooked to medium well.

    But labels informing consumers to take additional precautions are still pretty rare. Marketplace visited
    more than 20 stores in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto and Halifax and found only one store — a FreshCo in Toronto — with steaks that had correct labelling.” http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/warnings-about-beef-tenderizing-e-coli-risk-rare-in-stores-1.2426892

  • cole3244

    if that makes you feel better fine.

  • cole3244

    man is the only mammal that has milk after he is weened.

  • Drew2u

    worst-case scenario, I won’t get insurance until 2015; please explain to me why I’m wrong :(

    I wanted 2 months for insurance shopping- looks like i may get none or only 15 days?

    http://money.cnn.com/2013/10/29/news/economy/obamacare-deadline-extension/index.html

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/19/wisconsin-medicaid-delay_n_4471832.html
    http://www.nbc15.com/election/headlines/Wis-gov-calls-special-session-on-Medicaid-231957921.html

  • Corey

    See what too much regulation does…it ruins dinner time LOL

  • Monoceros Forth

    There is a slight problem with that. We who have studied the culinary arts know that there are three proteins that are more useful by far than any of the others, three miracles of food chemistry: gluten, casein, and ovalbumin. The first is vegan, although it’s hated almost as much as meat these days. The second and third are animal products that admit of no substitution. I should know. I’ve tried to turn my back on this holy trinity, tried to substitute various vegetable substances and gums and mucilages, and was punished for my apostasy.

    I can live without meat but without eggs or milk? Never.

  • nicho

    A lot of disease outbreaks have been linked to vegetables. And the underpaid, abused field workers may not see themselves as winning.

  • ArthurH

    True! Articles a few months ago that I read in both the Chicago Tribune and The Wall Street Journal cited tests that found what is labeled “chicken byproducts” accounts from 50% to 70% of the Chicken McNuggets you buy. Ick!

  • cole3244

    go vegan everybody wins, especially the chickens.

  • bkmn

    If you don’t think there is a chicken equivalent of ground beef’s pink slime, think again. If you have ever eaten chicken nuggets at one of the fast food giants you have consumed the poultry version of pink slime.

  • Monoceros Forth

    I’ll remember to stock up on EMB and bismuth sulphite culture plates before buying chicken next time.

    I’m a little ashamed to admit that after several months of not cooking with meat I went back to chicken and pork. It’s getting slightly harder to justify…

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Almost as gross at that ‘sewer grease’ being sold to restaurants in China…

  • Indigo

    Mmm . . . Chinese fecal matter.

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