Sure, many people think that when compared to the beef industry or pork industry the poultry industry probably isn’t too bad, right? Well, they are wrong.
The meat industry in itself is a hell hole. I recently came across a video highlighting the serious issue of chemicals being sprayed on poultry. In this video, it went over the stories of two USDA workers who were ignored when complaining about health concerns for the workers and in turn the public who would be ingesting the chicken itself. This really got me thinking. Considering chicken is responsible for the most outbreak-associated illnesses most of the time, we need to be paying much closer attention to it.
CBS News actually went over this not too long ago. They went over a CDC investigation that showed chicken was the most likely out of the other kinds of meat to make a person sick. While you might not have expected that one, it is very true.
The CDC investigated the causes of “outbreaks” in which two or more people get the same illness after eating a common food. Realizing that contaminated food is the cause of 9.4 million illnesses each year — and has been blamed for 5,760 separate outbreaks that resulted in 100,939 illnesses, 5,699 hospitalizations, and 145 deaths from 2009 to 2015, the last year for which government statistics are available — the CDC decided to take a closer look.
No other food, it turns out, is quite as problematic as chicken — the heart-healthy alternative to red meat.
Though fish and dairy technically caused more “outbreaks,” chicken sickened the most people — some 3,113 people over the study period, to be exact. Other seemingly healthy foods — pork and seeded vegetables — ranked second and third most common sources of foodborne illness, causing 2,670 and 2,572 illnesses, respectively.
It’s enough to make you pine for Twinkies.
“Chicken is a reservoir for salmonella,” explains Thomas Gremillion, director of the Food Policy Institute at the Consumer Federation of America. Though proper cooking can kill most salmonella strains, normal food preparation techniques — like using a sponge to clean up spills or rinsing your chicken in the sink — tend to spread the bug around your kitchen, he says. That can “cross-contaminate” your sink, cutting boards and vegetables.
Now, on top of this, the chickens are not being kept humanely. While regulations are being met properly the chickens’ lives are nowhere near what you might think they are. Crammed in cages, beaks seared off and forced to live like this until slaughter is a breeding ground for disease and bacteria, not to mention the antibiotics pumped into them to keep them growing quickly. While I am not going to go too into that, please do your own research and know that it is hard to look at and heartbreaking in more ways than I could find the words to say.
That all being said, it is also important to mention that poultry inspectors are literally being sickened by the products and chemicals being used to disinfect these chickens that we then buy and consume. One Poultry inspector from Utah named Jessica Robertson actually became chronically ill from exposure to chemicals used to literally coat raw chicken. She was actually speaking in the video mentioned above that I will add below. She is the voice for others who have gone through this and it is much more common than you might think.
And despite dousing the chicken in dangerous chemicals to thwart bacteria, chicken is still responsible for the most health issues, according to the CDC. Doesn’t make sense to me. Sounds like we are doing a lot of unnecessary stuff to cut corners for the manufacturer/industry and letting the workers and the consumers take all the damage from it.