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Nearly Half of Supermarket Chicken Tainted by Feces

Nearly half the chicken products marketed by national brands and sold in supermarkets are contaminated with feces, according to a new PCRM report.

The report, which was covered by the New York Times, is based on independent laboratory test results of chicken samples from 15 grocery store chains in 10 major U.S. cities. PCRM investigated chickens from Perdue, Pilgrim’s, and Sanderson Farms, as well as 22 other popular brands. Chicken samples from every city and every grocery store chain tested positive. In Dallas, 100 percent of the chicken bought at the Kroger’s store tested positive for fecal matter.

Testing revealed that 48 percent of the chicken samples tested positive for fecal contamination, indicated by the presence of coliform bacteria commonly found in chicken dung. Skinless chicken breast was particularly likely to have fecal traces, and both “organically produced” and “conventional” products were frequently contaminated.

The bacterial species E. coli is a type of coliform bacteria and a specific indicator used by slaughter and processing plants to check for fecal contamination of food products and water.

In a recent blog post, Dr. Barnard wrote: “Given the widespread nature of this disgusting problem, consumers deserve fair notice. It’s time for every package of supermarket chicken to carry a sticker that says, ‘Warning: May Contain Feces.’ ”

The results of the independent lab tests were as follows:

Fecal Contamination of Chicken Products in 10 U.S. Cities
City
Grocery Store
Chicken Products with Fecal Contamination
Charleston, S.C.
 
Harris Teeter
33%
Publix
33%
Chicago, Ill.
 
Dominick’s
33%
Jewel-Osco
67%
Dallas, Texas
Albertsons
33%
Kroger
100%
Denver, Colo.
 
Albertsons
50%
Safeway
67%
Houston, Texas
 
H-E-B
17%
Randalls
17%
Miami, Fla.
 
Publix
50%
Winn-Dixie
83%
Milwaukee, Wis.
 
Pic ‘n Save
17%
Piggly Wiggly
50%
Phoenix, Ariz.
 
Fry’s
50%
Safeway*
0%
San Diego, Calif.
 
Albertsons
17%
Ralphs
83%
Washington, D.C.
 
Giant
83%
Safeway
67%
 
* Indicates a store where retesting was performed; retesting found that 60 percent of the samples were positive for fecal contamination.

A 2009 USDA study found that 87 percent of chicken carcasses tested positive for E. coli after chilling and just prior to packaging. Every year, contaminated poultry products cause approximately 1.5 million illnesses, 12,000 hospitalizations, and 180 deaths. However, most people eating cooked chicken feces have no symptoms and are unaware of what they have ingested.

To read the complete report, visit PCRM.org/ChickenFeces.



 
 

Supermarket chicken


PCRM Online,
May 2012

 
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