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The Physicians Committee

Water Wings and Chicken Wings Both Covered in Poop
May 26, 2013

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer fun. Americans are kicking off the season with swimming pools, barbecue, and the secret summer ingredient: feces.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a study showing that at least half of swimming pools are contaminated with fecal matter. This is caused by swimmers not cleaning properly before taking a swan dive into an essentially communal bath. To “swim healthy,” the CDC issued a recommendation not to swallow the pool water.

But it’s not just public pools that are brimming with poop. Chicken barbecue and swimming pools have more in common than you might think. During processing, chicken carcasses become coated with fecal matter and then, like unshowered swimmers, cannonball into a vat of chilled water where the feces gets sloshed around. The biggest difference is that swimmers can get out and take a shower, but the chicken is permeated with the fecal water, which can’t be cleaned or cooked out. The contamination spreads beyond chicken. The Fecal Four (beef, chicken, pork, and turkey) are all harbingers of fecal matter.

Fortunately, there’s no need to turn off the grill! Fire up some veggie kebabs or portobello or tofu burgers. There are plenty of poop-free picnic options that have the extra benefit of being lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than meat products.

Let’s keep it clean—don’t ingest fecal water, whether it’s from pools or poultry.


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