Food safety is a growing concern in the U.S. A recent report from Consumers Union suggests that contaminated chickens are much too common. Investigators purchased 382 fresh broiler chickens from 100 grocery stores in 22 states. They found that two thirds of the birds carried either campylobacter or salmonella. Some had both strains. These bacteria are responsible for a great deal of food-borne illness.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture found much lower levels in their testing of birds taken from packing plants. Everyone agrees, however, that home cooks must be extremely careful when handling raw chicken. They should not allow liquid from birds to get on surfaces that other food might touch. Chicken should be cooked to a minimum temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Left over chicken should be refrigerated promptly.