They're calling it the "Superbug" and it is dangerous.
Consumer Reports announced today that 97% of the breasts tested harbored bacteria that could make you sick.
The report found the presence of enterococcus on 79.8 percent of the poultry tested, E.coli (65.2 percent), campylobacter (43 percent), klebsiella pneumonia (13 percent), salmonella (10.8 percent) and staphylococcus aureus (9.2 percent).
These numbers are dangerous, “There is always a risk of food borne illness,” says Keeve Nachman of Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future‘s Food Production and Public Health Program. “But when a person comes down with an infection, if the pathogen is resistant, it is more expensive to treat, there are increased productivity losses and the survival rate is lower.”
"Chicken carcasses are so covered in bacteria that researchers at the University of Arizona found more fecal... http://t.co/87UzUZ47
— Vegan World Radio (@veganworldradio) November 30, 2012
Reports point to overuse of antibiotics in chickens raised in condensed farming conditions. They are sick and dying, so antibiotics are necessary to keep them alive until slaughter. Those same antibiotics have created a strain of pathogens and viruses that have become resistant to the current antibiotics available to animals and humans alike.
“When antibiotics are used to treat people, they are ordered by a physician for a patient with symptoms and are given for a specified amount of time,” explains Nachman. “But with animals we still allow them to be used throughout the life span of an animal without signs of disease, and in the absence of continued oversight.”
“The more you look at it, the more the drug resistance starts to paint a disturbing picture,” said Dr. Urvashi Rangan, toxicologist and executive director of the Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center.
Consumer Reports also issued letters to the FDA and USDA requesting changes to current laws that suggested limiting all antibiotics in the raising of animals, except when the animals are sick and antibiotics are needed. Currently all chickens are given antibiotics starting in the egg.
If you eat chicken, there is likely more fecal bacteria in your kitchen than in your toilet, research says. http://t.co/LvlmD0QA
— COK (@TryVeg) November 26, 2012
Your best bet for staying safe? Stop eating chicken altogether is the safest route. According to Mark Bittman, New York Times - "We should all steer clear at least of Foster Farms chicken, or any of the other brands produced in that company’s California plants, although they’re not all labeled such. Costco pulled nearly 9,000 rotisserie chickens from a store south of San Francisco last week, after finding contamination -- this is after cooking, mind you -- with a strain of salmonella Heidelberg, which is virulent, nasty and resistant to some commonly used antibiotics."
There are alternatives to factory farm and free range raised chicken. Safe alternatives.
Image via Wikimedia Commons