Tests detect Salmonella in one-third of store-bought ground chicken

Tests detect Salmonella in one-third of store-bought ground chicken

FRIDAY July 1, 2022

Nearly a third of ground chicken may contain dangerous salmonella, according to a new Consumer Reports survey.

Based on its findings, the group called on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which regulates the country’s meat supply, to increase its efforts to protect consumers from this bacteria, which can cause serious illness.

“The USDA has been committed to reducing illness from Salmonella contamination for more than a decade, but [Consumer Reports’] testing shows that more progress is clearly needed to protect the public,” said James Rogers, director of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports. “We need stronger action from the USDA to keep salmonella out of our kitchens and off our plates. “

Salmonella was found in 31%, or 23 of the 75 ground chicken samples the group tested.

Nine of Perdue’s 25 products contained salmonella, the researchers found. Samples from Trader Joe’s and Wholesome Pantry, which get their chicken from Perdue, also contained salmonella, as did chicken from Isernio’s, Walmart and Whole Foods, they added.

According to the report, no brand stood out as better or worse than another, and no differences were found between ground chicken sourced from organic birds and those raised conventionally.

The researchers noted that all salmonella found were resistant to at least one antibiotic and 78% resistant to multiple drugs. This could make an infection difficult to treat.

Each year, more than 212,000 Americans are diagnosed with an antibiotic-resistant disease. salmonella in food and 70 die, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Consumer Reports also found salmonella in ground beef, pork and turkey it tested.

He reported that a ground beef sample contained E. coli O157:H7a strain considered particularly dangerous because it can damage the intestines and cause life-threatening kidney damage.

Consumer Reports alerted the USDA earlier this year, resulting in the recall of more than 28,000 pounds of meat from grocery chains in seven western states.

The group said the USDA has taken aggressive action to protect the public from dangerous strains of E. coli, but took no action to protect consumers from salmonella.

More than one million Americans get sick each year from salmonella, about five times more than from E. coli. About a fifth of these cases come from contaminated chicken or turkey.

“The USDA is allowing far too much salmonella-contaminated chicken on the market and is forcing consumers to protect themselves,” said investigative journalist Lisa Gill, who wrote the article reporting the findings. “There are steps we can all take to reduce the risk of getting sick, but it may be harder to do with ground meat.”

Consumer Reports called on the USDA to reduce the percentage of chicken samples allowed to test positive for salmonella. He said the agency should focus on reducing the strains of salmonella that pose the biggest threat to human health.

He also said the USDA needs more authority to inspect poultry plants and shut down facilities immediately when high levels of salmonella are found.

To prevent food poisoning in your kitchen:

  • Keep raw meats in a disposable bag away from other foods at the grocery store.
  • Store raw meat in a bag or bowl in the refrigerator.
  • Thaw frozen meat in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
  • Wash your hands with hot, soapy water before preparing food, whenever you touch raw meat, and again when you’re finished.
  • Use a dedicated cutting board for raw meat and another for fruits and vegetables.

Consumer Reports also recommends using a meat thermometer.

  • Ground beef and pork are safe to eat when cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Poultry should be cooked to 165 F.
  • Beef roasts and steaks and pork roasts and chops should be cooked to 145 F.
  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of removing food from the stove.

More information

To learn more about food safety, including recalls and disease outbreaks, visit


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