raw chicken.bmpThe troubling findings of a recent study of bacterial contamination in retail poultry were being reported today at Aol News.   Food safety attorney Bill Marler funded a study that was conducted in Seattle by the Institute for Environmental Health, a national network of food safety laboratories.

The study was based on sampling conducted on 100 packages of chicken parts and fryers purchased from 10 Seattle-area groceries last month. The contamination rates:

Camplyobacter:  a whopping 65%.

Salmonella:  19%

E. coli or listeria  2%, (including the pathogenic E. coli O26, normally associated with beef.)

Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) :  10%

The MRSA finding might be the most problematic at all.   According to the report, USDA inspectors present at poultry facilities do not monitor for the pathogen.  In addition:

Handling contaminated chicken with a cut or break in the skin is a screaming invitation for MRSA to enter the body. Public health experts warn that bacterial resistance to antibiotics is a serious problem, as it often makes many diseases difficult if not impossible to treat.

Bill Marler explained why he funded the study:

“I funded the chicken study because I’m concerned that consumers don’t understand how many pathogens may be on the chicken they purchase and serve to their families,” Marler told AOL News.  All the contamination most likely occurs because of sloppiness in the processing facilities, where the meat comes into contact with feces, which causes most of the dangerous bacteria to flourish, Marler said.