Storm Victims Should Throw Out Chicken, Doctors Advise

The Physicians Committee
NEWS RELEASE July 1, 2012
Storm Victims Should Throw Out Chicken, Doctors Advise
Fecal Traces Could Become Poisonous in Rising Temperatures
raw chicken contamination risk

If you lost electrical power during recent summer storms, you’ll want to discard any chicken from your refrigerator. About half of all raw chicken products contain feces, enough to sicken your family if the bacteria they harbor are allowed to grow, a likely scenario as refrigerators warm up toward room temperature.

PCRM recently sampled chicken products from 15 different grocery store chains in 10 major U.S. cities and sent them to an independent laboratory for testing. Results showed that 48 percent of the samples tested positive for fecal contamination, as indicated by the presence of E. coli, a bacterium in chicken feces. The germs are used in USDA and industry testing as an indicator of fecal contamination. While the target E. coli bacteria may be innocuous, they indicate the presence of feces, which can harbor other bacteria and parasites that can cause serious illness.

“Since significant amounts of feces are present in about half of raw chicken products sold at grocery stores, consumers should assume that they are in chicken products in their refrigerators,” said Neal Barnard, M.D., PCRM president. “Throw it away.”  

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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