Consumer Reports tests indicate that 83 percent of fresh, whole broiler chickens bought nationwide harbor campylobacter or salmonella, the leading bacterial causes of foodborne disease.
Campylobacter was present in 81 percent of the chickens, salmonella in 15 percent; and both in 13 percent. Only 17 percent contained neither pathogen. No major brand fared better than others overall. Most of the bacteria tested showed resistance to one or more antibiotics.
Premium brands costing $3 to $5 per pound were actually more likely to harbor salmonella than broilers costing $1 per pound. One exception was Ranger, a no-antibiotics brand sold in the Northwest, which was extremely clean.
If you believed pledges of no hormones or antibiotics by chicken producers -- even those claiming to be organic -- makes those animals raised on factory farms you buy from the grocery store any safer to eat, you should think twice before doing it again, according to this alarming Consumer Reports expose.
The amazing 83 percent of the chickens testing positive for campylobacter or salmonella represents a frightening increase from the 49 percent Consumer Reports found just three years ago.
And some of the worst offenders among the 525 samples tested (taken from 23 states) were from chickens labeled as organic or raised without antibiotics.
And, no surprise, the current standards chicken producers use to keep contamination in check and allegedly protect consumers -- called the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) -- aren't enough to prevent it.
Each full-grown chicken in a factory farm has as little as six-tenths of a square foot of space. These extremely overcrowded conditions pave the way for disease. Many are also genetically modified, and due to genetic manipulation, 90 percent of broiler chickens have trouble walking.
If you are interested in learning more about the unsafe conditions in factory farms that can sicken your health, I detailed them in The Great Bird Flu Hoax expose that was a NY Times best seller last year.
On Vital Votes, reader Mary from