Physicians Group Warns of Chicken Contamination with Billboard Targeting Tyson and Chicken Caucus

The Physicians Committee
NEWS RELEASE July 5, 2013
Physicians Group Warns of Chicken Contamination with Billboard Targeting Tyson and Chicken Caucus

USDA Video Exposes Chicken Products Soak in “Fecal Soup” Before Packaging

WASHINGTON—A huge billboard in Little Rock, Ark., warns consumers that chicken from Tyson Foods and other producers is often contaminated. The billboard is sponsored by the health nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (Physicians Committee).

Located on Bankhead Drive, near the Little Rock airport, the billboard will be visible to Congressman Rick Crawford, co-chair of the Congressional Chicken Caucus, when he flies from Washington to Arkansas to spend time with his constituents. The billboard, which features a provocative image of a contaminated chicken carcass, asks “What is Tyson Hiding?” and directs people to

“More and more people are realizing that chicken is anything but a healthful, wholesome food,” says Joseph Gonzales R.D., L.D., a registered dietitian with the Physicians Committee. “Adding grilled chicken to your salad or sandwich can actually add carcinogens, chlorine, cholesterol, superbugs—and worst of all, feces.”

The billboard is based on a new report from the Physicians Committee highlighting the five worst contaminants in chicken products, with feces topping the list. A U.S. Department of Agriculture training video obtained by the Physicians Committee through the Freedom of Information Act reveals that the chicken slaughtering process ends with carcasses soaking in cold water—“fecal soup”—for up to one hour before being packaged for consumers.

In 2012, the Physicians Committee tested chicken products sold by 15 grocery store chains in 10 U.S. cities for the presence of fecal bacteria. Approximately half of the chicken samples tested positive.

The dangers hiding in chicken go beyond feces. Last month, a strain of avian influenza was found on an Arkansas poultry farm that supplies birds to Tyson. Although officials from Arkansas and the poultry industry said this particular virus did not pose a threat to humans, it was a strain of the flu virus that killed dozens of people in China. Since then, China, Russia, and Japan have banned imports of poultry raised in Arkansas.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

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