Prepare your stomachs.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a pro-vegetarian group, has released a new study reporting that almost half of grocery store chicken meat was contaminated with feces, based on the samples of e.coli that were found in the samples that were tested.
The group tested chicken sold by 15 grocery stores in 10 cities, with samples coming back that e.coli was a 100 times higher than what the U.S. Department of Agriculture deems ok. 48% of the samples tested had fecal contamination.
Dirk Fillpot, a spokesman for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, issued this statement:
“What the study reports is the presence of generic E. coli, not fecal matter. The generic E. coli present on the birds would not cause foodborne illness. This study does not focus on what counts: foodborne pathogens.”
The supermarkets that were tested were in Milwaukee, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Miami, Phoenix, San Diego, Washington, D.C., and Charleston, S.C..
But some grocery store owners reinforced that they maintain the highest standard in selling meat. According to the NYTimes, Mike Siemienas, of Supervalue, which owns an Albertsons in San Diego,
“We have stringent food safety policies in place to maintain the quality of fresh raw poultry, and these policies are designed to insure we adhere to proper temperature control, sanitation, hygiene and date marking practices.”
But some of the findings were staggering.
In Washington D.C., of the stores tested, 83% of the meat in Giant, and 67% of the meat in Safeway were considered contaminated. 83% at Winn-Dixie in Miami, Fl, and a staggering 100% of Kroger meat that was sampled in Dallas, Texas.
To view the full list, check here.
Gross. It seems in order for consumers to remain safe, the best thing that the we can do, is to cook the meat thoroughly — or not buy it at all.