Bad news, guys: It may be time to find another white meat. A new report claims that up to half of raw chicken breasts in the U.S. contain a "superbug" bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics.
The finding, published by Consumer Reports Thursday morning, tested 316 raw chicken breasts purchased at retail stores around the country. While almost all contained some amount of harmful bacteria, just under 50% of the samples carried a bacterium resistant to three or more different antibiotics. Additionally, 11% of the samples had two or more such bacteria. Interestingly, the study showed that organically raised chickens — which are supposedly raised without antibiotics or hormones — were just as likely to be contaminated with these bacteria.
The news has consumer groups pushing the FDA to pass a law restricting the non-medical use of antibiotics on U.S.-raised poultry. Just last week, the FDA announced a new initiative to phase out such practices. It's unclear at this point what effect this new finding will have on the FDA's plans.
Antibiotic resistance and "superbugs" like this one have been in the news quite a bit lately — but there hasn't been much in the way of a widespread movement away from the practices that contribute to the emergence of such bacteria. Since Americans eat more chicken than any other meat, maybe this finding will encourage more decisive action.
In the meantime, though, make sure to cook those chicken breasts fully — heating the meat to 165 degrees will kill any bacteria that might be present. You can't be too careful these days. (Reuters)