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Packaged chicken products and raw meat may seem innocent as they rest in your freezer, but according to a new research the chicken you consume regularly may actually lead to acute food poisoning.
The research, conducted by Bhabha Atomic Research Centre's Food Technology Division, found that almost 50% of all ready-to-cook chicken products and raw meat are contaminated by Salmonella. Out of which at least 4 strains are antibiotic resistant!
The Shocking Results
The research team collected 87 samples of chicken, both raw and packaged, from various markets and stores in Mumbai, out of which 48 were raw chicken samples, and the rest were products like sausages, sheekh kebabs, salami, and other common ready-to-cook meats.
And while the samples looked edible under naked eye, the story was entirely different under a microscope.
The team discovered that almost 50% of all the raw meat samples were teeming with Salmonella.
And though all ready-to-cook products were not contaminated, the ones that were stored in "chilled" state, instead of frozen, showed high amounts of contamination.
Cause for Concern
The researchers chose not to publicize the product names that they found to be in an ungodly state. But the results clearly show that the food processing and handling industry in our country is dangerously unregulated.
The burden of the blame of which falls squarely on the shoulders of poultry farmers who are famous for overusing antibiotics to manipulate the growth of caged birds.
A practice that has led to the rise of antibiotic-resistant strains of microbes that no known drugs can cure.
How to Store and Cook Chicken Safely
Food poisoning is not a laughing matter.
The news is full of stories of children and adults who have died because of untimely treatment.
That's why, if you are a regular non-vegetarian, then here are some tips for you to protect yourself from falling ill:-
1. Avoid Dirtying Your Surroundings.
Whenever you handle raw (or even processed) meat, make sure you wash your hands properly with soap before touching any kitchen utensils or even the countertop.
Cross-contamination is a serious danger when it comes to meat that is potentially dirty.
2. Thaw the Meat Properly.
Thawing frozen meat on the counter is not a safe practice.
Instead, you should thaw it in the regular section of your refrigerator, in a bowl of cold water, or even in the microwave.
This is to prevent any part of the meat from heating up beyond 41oF, which enables bacteria to grow and multiply.
3. Cook the Meat Properly.
It is impossible to judge whether the meat you are cooking is done just by looking at its color and texture.
Instead, rely on a handy kitchen thermometer and make sure the meat is cooked at or above 165oF to kill off any microbes that might be in it.
4. Reheat at the Right Temperature.
If you have leftovers, it is recommended that you quickly store it inside the fridge to prevent contamination from the environment.
In such a case, you can heat your food to 145-155oF.
But if your leftovers have been resting on the countertop for a while, make sure you reheat the food to 165oF to kill any bacterial growth during its time outside and in the fridge.
Share the Information
In a survey done in 2014, it was found that 50% of all meat products in India become contaminated during handling and processing.
The current scenario doesn't look any different.
So if you found this article useful, we urge you to share it with your friends and family to keep them safe from food poisoning!