With the cost of food rising rapidly we are eating much more chicken than ever before. Astonishingly, last year we ate an average of 23kg per person! That is 50lbs in old money. While (since Edwina Curry?) the percentage carrying Salmonella has fallen considerably – in 1987 over half were carrying it! Since then, most egg laying chickens have been vaccinated. But many other chickens are not. Contrary to the general perception, free range and organically raised chickens have higher levels of the three main contaminations than those raised indoor, where controls are more strict. Worryingly, tests of chicken bought from supermarkets still show high level of campylobacter http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campylobacter and listeria. The government food agency aims to reduce campylobacter to 10%, eventually, from current levels of around 18%. This is a vast improvement in the last three years from 65% only three years previously!
Freezing chicken kills most of these contaminations as does cooking. These figures may sound alarming but we must bear in mind that we are walking carriers of disease and we can thank Mr Darwin for telling us that we have evolved resistance to succumbing to them except when our immune system is impaired. See http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/81168.php
But we should not depend entirely upon this and make sure we only eat chicken which has been properly cooked!
Written by: Keith Paterson