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Drug-resistant bacteria found in chickens, survey finds
Washington - A consumer magazine says it found harmful bacteria, much of it drug resistant, in almost half the chickens it bought from stores around the country.
A bacterium that causes food poisoning, campylobacter, was found in 42 percent of 484 fresh broiler chickens tested for a survey published in the January issue of Consumer Reports. The magazine said Tuesday that another bacterium, salmonella, was found on 12 percent of the chickens. Both bugs can cause diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain and sometimes death.
The report highlighted that 90 percent of the campylobacter samples and 34 percent of the salmonella resisted treatment by antibiotics such as tetracycline, meaning sick people would be harder to treat and stay sick longer.
"That's a very uncomfortable starting point, and it goes to reinforce the growing concern about the use of antibiotics in livestock production," said David Pittle, vice president for technical policy at the magazine's publisher, Consumers Union.
Consumers can kill campylobacter and other germs by cooking chicken thoroughly so it is not pink, the report said. Experts recommend heating a whole chicken up to 180 degrees and chicken breasts to 170 degrees.
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