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Here's the Poop: Warning Labels on Chicken

Health & Wellness  (tags: chickens, poultry products, fecec, contamination, DA, PCRM, inspections, consumer protection, health, food, labeling, warning )

- 1875 days ago -
"USDA should make consumers aware that chicken often contains feces," says Mark Kennedy, director of legal affairs with the Physicians Committee. "Contaminated chicken often passes right through inspection.. lands on unsuspecting consumers' dinner plates

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Angelika R (143)
Wednesday April 3, 2013, 3:41 pm
Chicken products may soon carry fecal contamination warning labels if the U.S. Department of Agriculture complies with a legal petition the Physicians Committee filed March 14. The petition calls on the USDA to declare feces an adulterant in poultry products and label products to warn consumers about likely contamination.

“USDA should make consumers aware that chicken often contains feces,” says Mark Kennedy, director of legal affairs with the Physicians Committee. “Contaminated chicken often passes right through inspection, is marketed as ‘wholesome,’ and lands on unsuspecting consumers’ dinner plates, feces and all.”

Kennedy also wrote to the co-chairs of the newly reorganized Congressional Chicken Caucus, Reps. Rick Crawford and Sanford Bishop, urging an immediate industry-wide shift to the petition’s proposed guidelines and labels.

Although USDA holds a zero-tolerance policy for fecal contamination, it applies to visible feces only. Consumers assume that this policy guarantees that the products they eat are not tainted with fecal matter. In practice, however, enforcement standards are lax, allowing fecal contamination as long as the feces are not touching chicken skin or visible to the naked eye. As a result, contaminated meat and poultry products pass inspection.

A federal inspector said, “We often see birds going down the line with intestines still attached, which are full of fecal contamination. If there is no fecal contamination on the bird’s skin, however, we can do nothing to stop that bird from going down that line. It is more than reasonable to assume that once the bird gets into the chill tank, that contamination will enter the water and contaminate all of the other carcasses in the chiller. That’s why it is sometimes called ‘fecal soup.’”

Nearly half the chicken products sold in supermarkets are contaminated with feces, according to independent laboratory testing commissioned by the Physicians Committee in 2012. The study analyzed chicken samples from 15 grocery store chains in 10 major U.S. cities. The Physicians Committee’s petition explains that even thorough cooking does not remove feces from meat.

“Feces may contain round worms, hair worms, tape worms, and leftover bits of whatever the animal excreting the feces may have eaten, not to mention the usual fecal components of digestive juices and various chemicals that the animal was in the process of excreting,” the petition states.

“The presence of feces can shut down a neighborhood pool for days,” says Joseph Gonzales, R.D., staff dietitian with the Physicians Committee. “No one wants to swim in feces, much less eat it. Consumers deserve to know that the chicken breasts or ground beef they’re purchasing is likely contaminated with feces.”

Nancy C (806)
Wednesday April 3, 2013, 5:56 pm
You bet me to it this time!!! Isn't this gross??? 50% contamination probability...ty, happy not to eat animals...

Iona Kentwell (129)
Wednesday April 3, 2013, 6:37 pm
Mmm mm, how very unappetising! Imagine how quickly consumers and grocery stores will change their habits if this warning label does become mandatory.

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday April 3, 2013, 6:46 pm
it IS GROSS, indeed, Nancy! US is not too keen with labeling so I wonder if this case will go through... Too bad GMO have no immediate and visible disgust effect.. prop 37 would have had better chances..

Ingrid A (524)
Wednesday April 3, 2013, 6:58 pm
Very gross indeed.

Frans Badenhorst (582)
Wednesday April 3, 2013, 10:41 pm
this is really very disgusting..........

Past Member (0)
Wednesday April 3, 2013, 10:44 pm

paula eaton (30)
Wednesday April 3, 2013, 10:51 pm
Really great idea. They should list the antibiotics and growth hormones in all meat.

Helen Porter (39)
Wednesday April 3, 2013, 11:35 pm
I'm so grateful that I'm a vegetarian.

I don't eat flesh.

But, I try to do what I can to protect those not yet enlightened. I find meat laying out around in the stores and it sickens me to think of the children who may be fed the spoiled flesh. I make it a point to let an employee
know. I usually carry the meat with me, disdainfully, 'til I find a store manger or employee. I like to say," I'm a vegetarian but I don't want others to get any more sick than they would anyway eating meat. Meat is chemicals and pain."

Spread the word!

Past Member (0)
Thursday April 4, 2013, 12:11 am

Munro Tapper (80)
Thursday April 4, 2013, 11:39 am
In the factory farms of the US, chicken feed is enriched with chicken feces because chickens don't digest all of the nutrients the first time.

If you must eat chicken, choose humanely farmed range fed chicken. Let the chickens pick their own food.

Fiona Ogilvie (565)
Thursday April 4, 2013, 6:59 pm
UGH. I pay the extra for humane farming practices at the grocery store and I only go to restaurants that have this policy of humane farming and local if possible purchases.

Angelika R (143)
Thursday April 4, 2013, 8:30 pm
Good for you Betsy, hope you can trust those addresses! Your comment just reminded me of a Post I meant to submit but forgot so I will catch up on that.(about the chain restaurants"Café Gratitude")

Heidi Aubrey (16)
Thursday April 4, 2013, 10:23 pm
And if you haven't had enough of "yuck, gross", childish type rhetoric here, you can go to Food:Recipes and get the same dose there.

I really believe the maturity level of the Care2 editors borders on teenageish.

Angelika R (143)
Friday April 5, 2013, 8:41 am
Heidi-never generalize and please don't put others down, thanks.

DaleLovesOttawa O (198)
Friday April 5, 2013, 8:57 pm
Always helpful to remember Kitchen Basics 101, wash everything well. Purchasing organic, non-factory farm does wonders. Even our veggies, I never forget that even organic spinach etc., can cause food poisoning. So glad that I grow my own organic veggies...and yes, I do keep an eye on those flying pigeons from above...
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