CSPI: Chicken, Ground Beef Riskiest When It Comes To Pathogens

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WASHINGTON (UPI) — An analysis of some 33,000 cases of foodborne illness found ground beef and chicken were the riskiest meats for germs such as E. coli, a U.S. non-profit says.

Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director, of the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington, said hospitalizations caused by Salmonella put chicken in the “highest risk” category alongside with ground beef.

Clostridium and norovirus also caused outbreaks associated with chicken, while campylobacter bacteria was also believed to cause a large number of individual illnesses associated with chicken but rarely caused outbreaks, DeWaal said.

“Outbreaks from ground beef and chicken were reported frequently, and all too often caused debilitating illnesses — illnesses that led to hospitalization,” DeWaal said in a statement. “For example, approximately a quarter of those who were sickened by Salmonella would go to the hospital. The hospitalization rate for E. coli infections was nearly 50 percent and for Listeria infections it is more than 90 percent.”

Chicken nuggets, ham and sausage pose the lowest risk of foodborne illness, DeWaal said.

The report, Risky Meat: A Field Guide to Meat & Poultry Safety, also found meat of high risk included steak and other forms of beef, but excluded roast beef, which was of medium risk. Also of high risk was turkey, often from leaving cooked turkey on the counter too long.

Medium risk meat included barbecue, deli meat, pork — excluding ham and sausage — and roast beef.

The CSPI stressed the analysis only assessed food safety risk and did not address nutrition or the healthiness of the meat.

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