Contaminated Chicken Products: Overview

Modified on 2009/10/14 21:43 by admin
All chickens found in retail stores are either inspected by USDA or by state agencies that have standards equivalent to the Federal government. Each chicken and its internal organs are inspected for signs of disease. The "Inspected for wholesomeness by the U.S. Department of Agriculture" seal insures the chicken is free from visible signs of disease.

Inspection is mandatory but grading is voluntary. Chickens are graded according to USDA Agricultural Marketing Service regulations and standards for meatiness, appearance and freedom from defects. Grade A chickens have plump, meaty bodies and clean skin, free of bruises, broken bones, feathers, cuts and discoloration.

Bacteria can be found on raw or undercooked chicken. They multiply rapidly at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F (out of refrigeration and before thorough cooking occurs). Freezing doesn't kill bacteria but they are destroyed by thorough cooking of any food to 160 °F. Most foodborne illness outbreaks are a result of contamination from food handlers. Sanitary food handling and proper cooking and refrigeration should prevent foodborne illnesses. Bacteria must be consumed on food to cause illness. They cannot enter the body through a skin cut. However, raw poultry must be handled carefully to prevent cross-contamination. This can occur if raw poultry or its juices contact cooked food or foods that will be eaten raw such as salad. An example of this is chopping tomatoes on an unwashed cutting board just after cutting raw chicken on it. Bacteria such as salmonella, staphylococcus aureus, campylobacter jejuni, and listeria monocytogenes are associated with chicken.

See your doctor if you have become ill after eating a poultry product. In addition, it may be important to contact an attorney who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits within which you must commence suit.

See Also

  1. Meat Products: Overview
  2. Campylobacter Infections
  3. Diarrhea: Overview
  4. Listeriosis: Overview
  5. Nausea: Overview
  6. Poisoning
  7. Salmonellosis: Overview
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