An annual food-safety survey of chicken conducted by Consumer Reports found 83% of tested broiler chickens contaminated with either or both campylobacter and salmonella. The 525 chickens were purchased from retail outlets, including natural food stores, in 23 states.
The survey found 81% of the chickens tested were contaminated with campylobacter, 15% with salmonella, and 13% with both. Official USDA testing numbers found a 2005 salmonella infection rate of 16.3%.
USDA doesn't test for campylobacter. But a study last year by the agency and the National Chicken Council found only 26% of 4,200 broiler carcasses tested at 13 plants were infected with campylobacter, USAToday reports.
Richard Raymond, USDA under secretary for food safety, says the discrepancy might be due to the number of bacteria cells considered an infection. Consumer Reports considered more than 13 campylobacter cells in a cultured sample an infection, while the USDA study required 4,000.
-- Joe Roybal