Is Eating Chicken Harmful?

Q: Hi Liz, is it true that eating chicken today can be a health hazard?
A. Yes, sadly there can be a very high cost to cheap chicken! Consumer Reports published a study in February 2014 finding 97% of retail chicken breast from grocery store shelves was contaminated with bacteria that can make people sick.

Q. Why is that?
A, Consumer Reports suggests that the cramped conditions on factory chicken farms may play a role. New research indeed shows overcrowding can increase salmonella invasion and fecal contamination.

Q. Is poultry the cause of most outbreaks of salmonella?
A. Yes! Salmonella found in Poultry, particularly chicken, is the leading cause of food poisoning, food poisoning hospitalization and is the # 1 Food poisoning related death.

Q. Isn’t it illegal to sell poultry contaminated with dangerous bacteria?
A. No. Sadly, it can be deadly but not illegal. Every year in America over 200,000 people get human salmonella poisoning! Due to strengthening of food safety regulation under the Clinton Administration this has decreased from 390,000 people per year to 200,000. This is too many people getting unnecessarily sick, primarily from eating chicken, Don’t you think so?

Q. Why do so many people die from salmonella?
A. One of the most concerning developments in medicine is the emergence of bacterial super resistance to multiple classes of drugs. More than ¼ of chicken salmonella cases are resistant to not one, but five different treatment drugs.

Q. Is all chicken equal?
A. Organic chicken is definitely better than conventional chicken, but is still found to be contaminated in 84% of the cases.

Q. How can that be? I thought organic chicken was safe?
A. Organic chickens are still slottered typically in the same factory farms.

Q. Wow! I’m going out to get a veggie burger now!
A. Yes. You know what I’m going to say … a plant based diet is best and safest.

Q. Thanks Dr. Liz. I am chicken to eat chicken … You are a wealth of knowledge! I really appreciate you sharing this.

About Dr. Liz Perry
Dr. Liz is a primary care provider with a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and a Master’s degree in Business Management from Harvard University. For over 22 years, Dr. Liz has worked as an international healthcare consultant, has traveled the world, and has written hundreds of published articles as a health journalist.

Liz Perry