Chicken is the most popular meat in America. According to Chowhound — a CBS-owned website — over 28.6 billion pounds of the poultry product are consumed each and every year. And it makes sense, because it’s a versatile meat that’s easy for families to transform into a bunch of different dishes. But before you head to your fridge to start planning tonight’s dinner, we have to let you in on some bad news.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning consumers to take extra care when handling and/or cooking chicken, as raw chicken has seriously sickened 92 people in 29 states.
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The patients have all been infected with a drug-resistant strain of salmonella.
Of the 92 who have fallen ill, 21 have been hospitalized. And while cases have varied in severity — people sick with this strain have experienced stomach pain, cramps, diarrhea and fever lasting anywhere from 12 to 72 hours — no deaths have been reported.
The source of the outbreak, which started in January, is unclear, and a single, common supplier has not been identified. However, the strain of salmonella in question has been found in various raw chicken products, including pet food, ground chicken, chicken pieces and whole chickens. As such, the CDC is advising all consumers and retailers to handle raw chicken carefully and with caution and to cook it thoroughly to prevent food poisoning, i.e. chicken should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, and individuals should wash their hands before and after touching the product. Prep areas, utensils and/or cooking surfaces should also be thoroughly disinfected with warm, soapy water.
For more information about the outbreak and to see a full list of impacted states, visit the CDC’s website.
Until the source of the outbreak can be identified, maybe this is a good time to try that fish taco recipe you’ve had pinned for a few months.