Almost All Raw Chicken Breast Produced in U.S. Contains Gut Bacteria

Consumer Reports states that 97 percent of raw chicken breast it tested contains gut bacteria that could make people sick if handled improperly

A study shows that around 97 percent of commercial raw chicken breast tested from stores across the nation contains some sort of "harbored bacteria" that has the potential to make consumers ill, according to Food Safety News. Though most of the bacteria wouldn't cause the consumer to become ill if the meat is improperly handled, some still have the potential to do so.

According to the article, Consumer Reports tested 316 samples of raw chicken breast from around the country and found high rates of E. coli, campylobacter, klebsiella, salmonella, and Staphylococcus aureus. E. coli had the largest presence, with 65 percent of tested samples containing it.

The Food Safety News article clarifies that just because the bacteria are present does not mean that the levels are high enough to cause food poisoning if ingested. Not all strains of E. coli are bad, the study points out—some are even beneficial for humans. The study's findings do show, however, that an alarmingly high amount of raw chicken breasts from various retailers is contaminated with fecal matter.

The study, "The High Cost of Cheap Chicken," is set to be published in the February 2014 issue of Consumer Reports.

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