Monday, November 30, 2009

How safe is that supermarket chicken?

A commercial meat chicken production house in ...Image via Wikipedia

The latest issue of Consumers Reports (January 2010) discloses results of tests on supermarket broiler chickens  for salmonella and/or campylobacter, the leading bacterial causes of foodborne illnesses. This is a long, informative article, complete with photos, charts and graphs. The headlines:

How safe is that chicken?
Most tested broilers were contaminated

Nature's Promise poultry from Stop & Shop is included, but two brands of chicken available in North Jersey are conspicuous by their absence: Readington Farms' antibiotic-free birds from Shop Rite and Murray's free-roaming chickens from Fairway Market in Paramus.  

One definition caught my eye. When the label says no antibiotics are administered, "don't assume this was verified unless you also see the label 'USDA organic.'" But the article doesn't name brands that do this. It does urge consumers to cook chicken to at least 165 degrees. We eat mostly dark meat and can cook it to 170 degrees or 180 degrees without affecting moistness.

Is there a difference between broilers and fryers? Can you broil a fryer and vice versa? Consumer Reports doesn't say.

The tests found the cleanest name-brand chicken to be Perdue, but the article doesn't discuss the use of antibiotics and possibly animal by-products to raise those chickens, two additives that are harmful to humans. Click on the link below to read the entire article:
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