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.
The study looked at more than 300 raw chicken breasts purchased at big box stores across the U.S. and found potentially harmful bacteria lurking in almost all of the chicken, including those labeled “organic” or “natural.”
Grocery shoppers in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties said they are careful about handling raw chicken in their homes.
“I’m more of a germaphobe as opposed to my wife who maybe is quicker about washing and cleaning things,” Scott Leary said.
KTVU wanted to know just how thorough consumers need to be when handling raw chicken.
The Contra Costa Public Health Department allowed KTVU to simulate germs by applying a gel visible under a black light to raw chicken breasts. After a quick rinse of the hands with soap and water, the gel still appears under the black light and on the chicken and knife.
Paul Leung with the CCPHD recommends washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to ensure all bacteria is removed from your hands.
“The best way is to avoid coming into contact with those germs, whether it’s antibiotic-resistant or antibiotic sensitive, any of those germs can make you sick. So the best thing to do is not get exposed to those germs by proper hand washing, cooking thoroughly, and avoiding cross contamination. That can help you avoid any of those germs,” Leung said.
Consumers should cook poultry to 165 Degrees Fahrenheit to kill bacteria and take steps to avoid cross-contamination of other foods, such as using a separate cutting board for raw meat, Consumer Reports said.