The independent, nonprofit group found that two-thirds of the 382 carcasses tested "harbored salmonella and/or campylobacter, the leading bacterial causes of foodborne disease."
Campylobacter was in 62 percent of the chickens, salmonella was in 14 percent, and both bacteria were in 9 percent. Only 34 percent of the birds were clear of both pathogens.The chickens, which were tested at an outside lab, came from the top three chicken processors -- Perdue, Tyson and Foster Farms -- as well as "30 nonorganic store brands, nine organic store brands, and nine organic name brands."
Testing found that the most contaminated carcasses came from Tyson and Foster Farms. "More than 80 percent tested positive for one or both pathogens."
Not surprisingly the National Chicken Council disagrees with the findings, which will be published in January.
NCC also pointed to "a much more comprehensive survey" by USDA that found a lower prevalence of campylobacter and salmonella on raw chicken than reported by Consumer Reports.Consumer Reports doesn't receive money from companies. The magazine and Web site contain no advertisements because it wants to maintain its objectivity. It doesn't want a conflict of interest or even the appearance of a conflict of interest.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, on the other hand, regulates the flesh industry. If chickens are found to have a high incidence of nasty bacteria, that makes the USDA look bad.
Which organization's findings would you trust?
Here's another question: Do you know how salmonella and campylobacter end up on the chickens at the grocery store?
The bacteria settle in their intestines, usually without harm, and the chickens contaminate their environment with infected feces. When the birds are slaughtered, intestinal bacteria can wind up on their carcasses.Of course, intestines also contain feces. I'll let you do the math.
Unfortunately in Consumer Reports' recommendations of what people can do to help avoid ingesting salmonella and campylobacter, the Web site fails to mention the easiest, most obvious method: Go vegetarian.
If you have to worry about "one slipup and you're at risk," why consume that nastiness in the first place?