Is it really dangerous to eat chicken? I’m afraid to find out.

Two recent news stories about the dangers of chicken are
making me queasy just thinking about dinner.



I’ve
always loved chicken. Who doesn’t? It’s a mainstay of diets around the world,
and a particular favorite of Armenians. To me, there just isn’t anything that
says “comfort food” like a plate of roasted chicken, pilaf and salad.



But
it’s impossible for me to be comfortable with chicken on my plate or even in
the fridge after reading New York Times food writer Mark Bittman’s recent report
on virulent new strains of salmonella.


The gist of his concern is that the government has been
telling us for years not to worry about lax standards regarding salmonella in
raw chicken sold in the U.S. because cooking chicken is supposed to kill the
bacteria.


Now we’re learning that isn’t necessarily so. There have
been cases of salmonella in chicken cooked well beyond the
recommended safe temperature. The reason this is not just bad but very, very
bad is that eating food laced with this invisible and now apparently
heat-resistant menace can cause serious and lasting illness or even death.


What’s maddening is that Bittman notes some other countries
have taken the problem more seriously. Sweden
has eliminated salmonella in chicken, while our government has failed to remove some seriously
contaminated chicken from our markets.


There is reason to worry that the situation
may actually get worse. The Times has also reported that the Chinese have been given
the go-ahead to process American chicken and ship the cooked
product back to the U.S. The move is seen as the first step in allowing imports of Chinese-bred chicken.       


“China does not have the best track record for food safety,
and its chicken products in particular have raised questions,” the story
reported. “The country has frequent outbreaks of deadly avian influenza, which
it sometimes has been slow to report.” 
     


Think you’ll just avoid anything labeled “chicken from
China?” No such luck, as origin labels won’t be required and these processed bits are liable to wind up tucked, folded
or stewed into the next sandwich or bowl of soup you order in a restaurant.


How did this happen in America?
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1 Comment

  1. Anonymous October 26, 2013 at 12:16 am

    Excellent question. In my opinion, this has happened because of our insistence on super low-cost goods, including fresh food. Factory farming has become the way of the land and the quest to sell to consumers for less and less (and maximize corporate profits, which, of course, is the real reason behind it all) has prompted chicken manufacturers to go to China. It's so wrong.

    Reply

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