Organic Consumers Association

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Cook Organic not the Planet Campaign

Exposed: Factory Chicken Slaughterhouses Using Super-strength Chemicals to Cover up Extreme Salmonella Contamination

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's CAFO's vs. Free Range page and our Food Safety Research Center page.

There is a reason why the conventional poultry industry in the U.S. has been fairly successful in recent years at lowering detected levels of salmonella in chicken. But it has nothing to do with factory birds being raised in cleaner and more humane living environments. To the contrary, a new investigative report by The Washington Post (WP) reveals that many chicken slaughterhouses are merely treating their filthy chickens with an ever-expanding volume and variety of toxic chemicals to mask the presence of more virulent salmonella strains from federal regulators.

This shock finding was realized after researchers looking into the salmonella testing process for poultry identified a mismatch between levels of bacteria detected on birds and overall infection rates among the general population. Simply put, salmonella contamination rates in chicken appear to be decreasing while salmonella poisoning rates in humans have remained the same or are even increasing. The cause for this anomaly, say researchers, is an outdated testing process combined with a massive increase in chemical use at chicken slaughterhouses.

"[S]ome companies are using new chemical compounds so powerful that they continue to work even in the solution FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service) uses to collect its samples, thus giving off false negative readings as to the levels of pathogens remaining on the birds," writes Tony Corbo for Food and Water Watch (FWW) about the report's findings. "While FSIS has been reporting in recent years that the levels of salmonella have been decreasing through its regulatory sampling in chicken plants, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ... has been reporting that numbers of consumers getting sick from salmonella remain stubbornly high."   

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