Drug-resistant bacteria common on raw chicken sold in US

Consumer Reports tested 316 raw chicken breasts from supermarkets around the country and found that 97 percent of the samples contained some form of potentially harmful bacteria — including enterococcus, E.coli, campylobacter, klebsiella pneumonia, salmonella and staph.

In the report, titled “The High Cost of Cheap Chicken,” researchers also found that chicken labeled “organic” or “antibiotic free” was just as likely to contain contaminated bacteria. Samples were gleaned from local grocery stores, chains and big box stores located in 26 states…

Nearly half of the samples (49.7%) tested positively for at least one kind of bacterium resistant to three or more types of antibiotics…

Consumer Reports joined other consumer rights groups in urging the Food and Drug Administration to eliminate the use of antibiotics in meat products. Last week, the FDA released guidelines recommending that farmers limit their use, though critics say the measure doesn’t go far enough…

Food Safety News notes that while “only some” of the bacteria found in such amounts on the chicken could actually cause food poisoning, “they do indicate widespread fecal contamination of chicken meat. They are also capable of causing infections of the skin, blood and urinary tract if presented an opportunity.”

There is only one local market where we presently buy meat. It is one of a chain advertising itself as purveyor of natural and organic food in addition to conventional products. They ain’t the leader of the pack by any stretch of the imagination. But, when we started shopping there a year ago, I took the time to acquaint myself with a couple of the butchers, even the head of the meat department.

I criticized a couple of minor failings I noted, complimented other products deserving credit. I took the time to get to know folks on staff – as I have done elsewhere. For I still think the question of food safety comes down to management and staff procedures at the local level. These folks aren’t the only operation in town coming up to what I feel is adequate food safety requirements; but, they combine their skills and standards with prices better fitting workingclass families.

Take the time to do the same in your neck of the prairie, folks. It’s worth your life.

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