On Thursday, Consumer Reports delivered a particularly unappetizing message about the safety of raw chicken sold in U.S. supermarkets.
According to Consumer Reports, tests performed on raw chicken breast obtained from stores across the country showed that nearly all of the poultry was contaminated with potentially hazardous bacteria. Worse, 49.7% of the poultry was contaminated with bacteria that is known the be resistant to at least three commonly-used antibiotics, Reuters notes.
Consumer Reports tested the raw chicken for six kinds of bacteria. More than a tenth of the poultry contained two kinds of bacteria that is known to be drug-resistant.
In order to prevent sickness from the bacteria, Consumer Reports urges people to:
- Throughly wash hands when handling raw chicken.
- Use a separate cutting board for meat and poultry and wash immediately after use
- Don’t clean chicken under the faucet.
- Cook chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Keep chicken cold after purchase.
- Choose chicken raised without antibiotics.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering rules to restrict the use of antibiotics in livestock in a bid to stop the development of antibiotic-resistant strains. Livestock producers have used antibiotics to encourage animal growth.
Consumer Reports said that some antibiotics should be prohibited for use outside treating animals and humans who are actually sick.
News of the Consumer Reports finding sent poultry producer and restaurant stocks lower. Shares of Tyson (TSN), Sanderson Farms (SAFM), Hormel Foods (HRL) and Pilgrim’s Pride (PPC) all fell modestly in Thursday morning trading. KFC owner Yum Brands (YUM) and Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) also sank during the morning.