Are Chemical Sprays on Chicken Concealing Salmonella?

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We know that chickens and other factory farmed animals are fed a steady stream of antibiotics to foster faster growth and to mitigate the spread of disease caused by keeping thousands of animals in cramped, filthy conditions. But did you know that on top of all this, after chickens are slaughtered, their carcasses may be dosed in a powerful bath of chemicals?

While the goal of the chemicals is to reduce pathogens in the meat, little or no research has been done on whether these toxins linger in or on the meat and harm public health or the health of production line workers.

The scariest part about the chemicals? In the past few decades, the concentration and amount of chemicals has increased dramatically “from an average of two distinct chemicals per kill line a decade ago to four today, and from dilution rates of 20 to 30 parts per million of active ingredient in the 1980s to as much as 8,000 parts per million now,” according to Mother Jones. And, a new USDA plan would have consumer safety relying more on these chemicals and less on plant inspectors.

A recent Washington Post story also reports that the USDA is reviewing whether these strong chemicals may actually be covering up salmonella and other pathogens due to the way in which samples are prepared and sent to the lab. To test for pathogens, a carcass is pulled from the production line, placed in a bag filled with a solution, and then the bird is removed from the bag while the bag and solution go to the lab. If, in this process, the chemicals on the bird that are meant to kill the pathogens are not neutralized in the solution fast enough, they continue to kill pathogens in the solution on the way to the lab.

Over the past few years, salmonella rates (as tested in labs from these samples) have been cut in half. However, the amount of people getting sick from salmonella in poultry has not improved. The USDA review follows an independent study that suggested the USDA testing method is flawed.

Why take the risk? You don’t have to — you can protect your health and animals simply by choosing to leave chickens (and all animals) off your plate.  Visit today for a free Vegetarian Starter Guide.

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