Hey, Is That Poop On Your Chicken?

Naked Chicken

photo: Ideanatomy

About 50% of supermarket bought poultry is contaminated with fecal matter. This, according to a recent report by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).

Poultry was purchased from 15 grocery chains in 10 cities across the country and sent to a lab for testing. The presence of e. coli bacteria serves as a marker for the presence of fecal matter. Before we share the results, you should know that PCRM is an animal rights group, which strongly supports vegetarianism, and it definitely has an agenda here. Regardless, the results of a simple lab test, by a reputable third party lab, are nothing short of revolting.

About half of the chicken samples (48%), tested positive for chicken shit!

Poultry was purchased at Safeway, Kroger, HEB, Publix, Ralphs and others. Cities sampled include Miami, San Diego, Dallas, Denver, Chicago, and Washington DC. Antibiotic free chicken did not fare better than conventionally raised chicken. Organic chicken was not sampled.

The tests found the presence of e coli. According to PCRM:

E. coli is a specific indicator of fecal contamination and is used by slaughter and processing plants to check for fecal contamination of food products and water, following USDA requirements.

Most chickens grown for slaughter live in very tight quarters where they

defecate on themselves and one another and commonly stand in feces. Feces are also present in intestines at the time of slaughter. As a result, feces are common in poultry farms, transport vehicles, and slaughter plants.

Slaughterhouses process as many as 140 chickens PER MINUTE. The USDA requires testing just one out 22,000 chickens slaughtered for e. coli. It’s a wonder that only half end up contaminated.

Needless to say, you should heat your chicken to a minimum of 165 degrees Farenheit to make sure that the the e. coli has died.

Anyone grilling today?

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  • Dave

    While I appreciate the shock value I should mention that the small egg farmer at our local farmers market sells fresh eggs that from time to time have a little chicken poop on them as well.

    • George Babbitt

       That’s a good thing, because as soon as you wash an egg, it loses its ability to stay fresh without refrigeration.

  • http://quipstravailsandbraisedoxtails.blogspot.com/ Michele Hays

    http://dsc.discovery.com/fansites/mythbusters/db/human-body/fecal-matter-on-toothbrush.html
    Sanitation is important – this is why we have a time/temperature guide to cooking chicken.  That being said, e.coli is pretty much everywhere; they are often used as indicator organisms for fecal contamination, but there is also research indicating it can live independently on surfaces, etc. for some time – meaning e.coli can exist in a poop-free environment.

    So…the takeaway is correct, but maybe we don’t know whether poop is the problem or not (and even then, it might not be chicken poop.)

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/V5CARB4X6MCXD7I5XR3IGIVGWY Go

    yuck……that is why I limit my eating meat to once or twice (the mood has to hit me)  a month and definitely no fast food unless I am traveling out of the town and a franchise is my only choice. It saddens me to see articles like this that talks about how broken our food processing system is whether it is meat or vegetables.

    • http://quipstravailsandbraisedoxtails.blogspot.com/ Michele Hays

      Your statement implies that our food system was without microbial contamination in the past, which is far from the case (dysentery and typhoid fever are almost unheard of in modern times, but killed millions upon millions in the past.)  

      I have problems with our current food processing system, but I think it is much improved from past methods of dealing with contamination.

  • Jim

    “that the E-coli *HAVE* died”

  • Ee1998

    Poop happens.

  • Lucien1

    With the millions of chickens being consumed it is surprising that no major epidemic has resulted due to contamination.So this is most likely over blown like so many other things in this world

  • MrBillWest

    I am not surprised really. Poop, as measured by e. coli, is every where. Every few months there is a story the finds “surprising/alarming” amounts of bacteria on something. Fortunately, most e. coli is harmless. If it wasn’t, we would basically be sick all the time.

  • George Babbitt

    Slaughtering animals is done in a food safe way, but that doesn’t mean it’s ‘clean’, that’s one of the major reasons we cook our meat. Anybody ever wants to check out an honest fair presentation of how this is done, look for the BBC series called ‘Kill It, Cook It, Eat, It’ –> http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006ywpr/episodes/guide

    Just watching this show makes me hungry every time.

  • Jogee982

    I suppose that’s why we are supposed to wash our food before we eat it. P.s. haven’t the most recent out breaks been due to vegetable contamination.

  • Gabet347

    This is why i buy a very specific brand of chicken. Either way I lost my appetite for chicken today.

  • http://twitter.com/haraldkoch Harald Koch

    I stopped caring about e-coli when MythBusters did their toothbrush episode and showed that the sealed-in-the-package toothbrush was contaminated with e-coli. This stuff is why we have immune systems.

    • LJSM

      I’m the largest fan of Mythbusters ever! Oh, and it’s funny how the ccontrol toothbrushes were contaminated also, right?

  • Cartoonguy_99

    What about poop on: phones, door knobs, keyboards, grocery cart handles, and every single thing a person comes in contact with every single day of their lives?

    Oh noes, now we all live in little personal bubbles (which will have poop in them).

    • LJSM

      What about pee on soda cans?

  • LJSM

    Now I’m not looking forward to Thanksgiving as much as I was before.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000523476254 Promise Fulfilled

    Ummm that’s why you wash meats with vinegar and water…before seasoning it up and cooking it… DUHHHH