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USDA Sued Over Failure to Address High Rates of Fecal Bacteria on Chicken

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

fecal bacteria on chicken

Story at-a-glance -

  • According to preliminary data from the CDC, there were 25,606 food-borne infections, 5,893 hospitalizations and 120 deaths from food poisoning in 2018. In 2017, there were 24,484 infections, 5,677 hospitalization and 122 deaths
  • Poultry is a major source of Campylobacter, which has been the most commonly identified infection since 2013. It causes diarrhea and 18% of those affected require hospitalization. Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare but possible outcome of Campylobacter infection
  • A 2011 study conducted by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) found 48% of the 120 chicken products tested were contaminated with E. coli, commonly found in feces. The following year, repeat testing revealed the exact same result: 48% of chicken products again tested positive
  • PCRM filed a petition for rulemaking with the USDA in 2013, asking the agency to regulate fecal contamination as an adulterant. PCRM has now filed a lawsuit against USDA over the agency’s failure to respond
  • Studies using DNA matching have shown a majority of urinary tract infections are the result of exposure to contaminated chicken, not sexual contact with an infected person or transfer of your own E. coli from your anus to your urethra

While there are many environmental and human health hazards associated with modern food production, perhaps one of the most pressing concerns for any given individual is the ever-rising risk of food poisoning.

According to preliminary data from the CDC, there were 25,606 foodborne infections, 5,893 hospitalizations and 120 deaths from food poisoning in 2018. In 2017, there were 24,484 infections, 5,677 hospitalization and 122 deaths.


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