Chicken is a healthy meal option, but only if it’s thoroughly cooked. Find out what undercooked chicken can be hazardous to your health.
Are you eating more chicken these days? Many people are serving chicken for dinner because it’s a good protein source that’s also low in fat. Eating chicken is a good choice from a health standpoint, but only if it’s thoroughly cooked and properly prepared. Eating undercooked chicken could lead to a serious case of food poisoning.
According to a report put out by Consumer Report and published on the Food Production Daily website, far too many chickens are still infected with bacteria that can lead to food borne illness. Researchers sampled the bacteria content of 382 chickens purchased from one-hundred food stores. The bad news is they found only thirty-four percent of the birds tested were free of disease causing bacteria. The good news? This number is better than what was found when they last tested in 2007. The two bacteria tested for in this study were Salmonella and Campylobacter – both of which can cause serious illness and even death in humans. The biggest problem was contamination with Campylobacter – found in sixty-two percent of the chickens tested.
Most food poisoning from poultry comes from eating undercooked chicken since the bacteria are destroyed by cooking the meat sufficiently. Great care must be taken to avoid contact with raw chicken meat since even a single drop of infected raw chicken juice is enough to cause illness in a person. This means cutting boards that have touched raw chicken need to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before being used to prepare other food. Utensils also need to be disinfected in a similar fashion.
How can you avoid eating undercooked chicken that can lead to illness? According to the CDC, chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Farenheit before serving; and juices from the inside of the chicken must be clear – not pink or red. Care should be taken to avoid cross-contaminating other food that’s being prepared. This means washing hands thoroughly after touching raw chicken.
It’s also important to avoid eating undercooked chicken when eating out. When dining at a restaurant, inspect your chicken thoroughly when it’s delivered to your table to make sure it’s not undercooked and the juices aren’t red or pink. If you’re served undercooked chicken, return it to the kitchen immediately. Don’t test it by taking a bite. Even small amounts of Salmonella and Campylobacter can cause serious infection. The consequences can be devastating if served to a child or a pregnant woman.
It’s sobering to know that such a large percentage of chicken found in grocery stores is contaminated with bacteria, Use this information to take precautions and avoid serving your family undercooked chicken.