An antibiotic-resistant “superbug” bacteria has been found in half of all raw chicken tested in a nationwide sampling by the group Consumer Reports.
The study said the rise of antibiotic resistance such as those found in their chicken samples could mean the antibiotics we now use to treat life-threatening illnesses from salmonella and other foodborne infections could become useless.
“We take the safety of our chicken very seriously,” says Mike Brown, the organization’s president, in a statement. “After all, our families are eating the same chicken as you and yours.”
From 2001 to 2010 outbreaks related to E. coli, Salmonella and other pathogens decreased by more than 40 percent, the poultry organization says.
Salmonella in chickens has decreased by 55 percent in the last five years, the council says.
Americans buy an estimated 83 pounds of poultry per capita annually, and about 48 million people fall sick from salmonella, campylobacter, E. coli and other contaminants.
“More deaths were attributed to poultry than to any other commodity,” reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Consumer Reports is calling for more stringent food oversight. It urges the Food and Drug Administration to prohibit antibiotic use in food animals and says the Agriculture Department should set levels for allowable salmonella and campylobacter bacteria in poultry.