If you were thinking about whipping up some ground chicken for dinner, you may want to think again, or at least take some extra precautions. Nearly one-third of ground chicken may contain dangerous salmonella, a new Consumer Reports investigation shows.
Based on its findings, the group called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which regulates the nation’s meat supply, to redouble its efforts to protect consumers from this bacteria, which can cause serious illness.
“The USDA has pledged to reduce illness from salmonella contamination for more than a decade, but [Consumer Reports’] tests show that more progress is clearly needed to protect the public,” says James Rogers, director of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports. “We need tougher action by the USDA to keep salmonella out of our kitchens and off of our plates.”
Which products should you watch out for?
Salmonella was found in 31%, or 23 of the 75, samples of ground chicken that the group tested.
Nine of the 25 products from Perdue had salmonella, researchers found. Samples from Trader Joe’s and Wholesome Pantry, which get their chicken from Perdue, also had salmonella, as did some chicken from Isernio’s, Walmart and Whole Foods, they added.
No one brand stood out as better or worse than another, according to the report, and no difference was found between ground chicken from organic and conventionally raised birds.
Researchers noted that all of the salmonella found was resistant to at least one antibiotic and 78% resistant to several drugs. This could make an infection hard to treat.
Each year, more than 212,000 Americans are sickened with antibiotic-resistant salmonella in food, and 70 die, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Consumer Reports also found salmonella in some ground beef, pork and turkey that it tested.
It reported that one sample of ground beef contained E. coli O157:H7, a strain considered particularly dangerous because it can