(NaturalHealth365) Americans love chicken. Whether from factory farming or organic free range chicken, we eat an average of 84 pounds of it per person per year. However, nutrition experts from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) are now warning that grocery stores and factory farming are bringing you meat contaminated with chicken feces.
Scientists from the PCRM were surprised at just how common it was to find contaminants on grocery store chicken. For the study, chicken products from 15 U.S. grocery store chains in 10 cities were tested for E. coli bacteria as evidence of fecal contamination.
E. coli plus toxic chemicals and viruses found in store-bought chicken
Some of the chicken products from each store chain and city tested positive, and overall, 48 percent of the samples tested positive for E. coli. In addition to feces, store-bought chickens have tested positive for toxic chemicals and even “superbugs” that are resistant to antibiotics.
Chicken is often treated with chlorine as part of the factory farming process in an attempt to clean it. However, the addition of this chemical only adds to the potential contaminants and carcinogens on grocery store chicken.
In poultry farms and during transportation, chickens defecate freely and are often standing in feces. Feces can also be released from the intestines during slaughter. This makes the presence of contaminants common during the processing of chicken meat.
Nearly all grocery stores and brands tested positive for toxins
Chicken meat is often rinsed with chlorinated water and inspected for visible contamination. However, factory farms and plants that process a high volume of chicken are clearly missing some of the fecal matter, as evidenced by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine study.
Chicken brands tested included Foster Farms, Gerber’s Poultry, Piggly Wiggly, Nature’s Promise, Open Nature, Publix, Red Bird Farms, Sanderson Farms, Wild Harvest Natural, Safeway O Organics, Springer Mountain Farms, Pilgrim’s, Eating Right, Harris Teeter, Harvestland, H-E-B, Smart Chicken, Roundy’s, Safeway, Super G, Supervalu, Hill Country Fare, Perdue, Murray’s and Covington Farms.
The grocery store chains tested included Fry’s, Albertsons, Dominick’s, Giant, Harris Teeter, Kroger, Pick ‘n Save, H-E-B, Jewel-Osco, Piggly Wiggly, Publix, Winn-Dixie, Ralphs, Randalls and Safeway.
Despite risk, U.S. Department of Agriculture standards are being reduced
Among the samples tested, chicken with skin on or off seemed equally at risk for contamination. Antibiotic-free chicken samples and conventional samples were both found to be contaminated at around the same levels.
Over 8 billion chickens are slaughtered each year in the U.S. However, instead of ramping up inspection procedures for factory farming, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is planning to decrease standards and measures for keeping consumers safe from contaminants. This is despite chicken feces being found in over half of the chicken sold in stores across the U.S.
Favor organic free-range chicken over factory farming
These findings underscore the importance of thoroughly rinsing raw chicken under running water before cooking to remove contaminants. Doing so can help to clean off what the processing plant may have missed.
Of course, purchasing higher quality organic free-range chicken – from a local farmer instead of mass produced products – will greatly reduce your odds of exposure to contaminants. In addition, be sure to cook chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 F to ensure food safety.