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Be Careful with Uncooked Chicken

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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.

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At what point did the USDA allow the purchase of chicken for dinner to become life-threatening?

The advice is to put left over chicken in the refrigerator "promptly." If I have company for dinner and we take an hour to an hour an a half to eat, is that too long to wait to put chicken in the refrigerator? Other options: Put un-served chicken in frigde when hot (right before you sit down); or get up in the middle of the meal to put the extra (either un-served or served but left over) chicken in the frigde. I'd rather take care of un-served and left over chicken when the meal is over. So how long can it remain outside the frigde?

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: WHEN YOU CLEAR THE PLATES FOR SALAD OR DESSERT, PUT THE UN-EATEN CHICKEN IN THE FRIDGE. THAT SHOULD BE A BIT LESS THAN THE FULL HOUR AND A HALF.

PUTTING HOT FOOD RIGHT OUT OF THE OVEN INTO THE FRIDGE WARMS EVERYTHING ELSE IN THERE UP, SO IT'S NOT A GOOD PRACTICE. BUT YOU KNEW THAT.

One more reason I'm glad I'm a vegetarian!

Buy your chickens from organic farmers or local farmers who raise free-range chickens. Or ..... don't eat chickens until the chicken factories clean up their act and raise fowl the way nature intended them to be raised!

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