Hidden salt in chicken

Giant chickenThe practice of chicken “plumping” by the industry has many consumers outraged. Plumping is term used to refer to injection of salt water, chicken stock, seaweed extract, or some combination of these into chickens – this increases the weight and price of the chicken – plumped chicken can be up to 15% salt water by weight. Of course, cost is important, but even more important is that this practice can also increase the sodium content of the chicken by up to 700%. About 30% of the chickens sold in the U.S. are plumped.

Sodium is not only associated with hypertension – high sodium intake contributes to heart disease, hemorrhagic stroke, kidney disease, osteoporosis, and stomach cancer as well. Conscientious consumers or those with elevated blood pressure who are restricting salt intake to avoid these dangerous outcomes are not expecting there to be anything other than chicken in the package of chicken. The industry is taking advantage of that fact, and adding even more salt into the diets of Americans in the process. Chicken producers say that consumers prefer the taste of plumped chicken, that adding salt water increases moistness and enhances taste - of course it tastes better to most Americans – it’s full of salt!

Taking into account the popularity of chicken among most Americans, this is a serious concern – especially since reducing salt intake in the U.S. by approximately one-third has been estimated to reduce cases of heart attack and stroke by tens of thousands each year. The last thing Americans need is more salt in their diets.

Of course, I recommend minimizing animal products. But if you do occasionally eat chicken, it is simple to make sure that you are paying for only chicken and not salt water. First, remember that “100% Natural” and even “Organic” does not mean that the chicken has not been injected with salt water. Check the ingredient list and the sodium content - chicken meat contains approximately 75 mg sodium per 4-ounce serving – plumped chicken may list up to 440 mg sodium for the same serving size.

 

References:

  1. Salt-Water-Soaked Chicken Not at all Natural, Says CSPI: http://www.cspinet.org/new/201002241.html
  2. Lifescript: Is Your Chicken too Fat? http://www.lifescript.com/Body/Diet/Eat-well/Is%20Your%20Chicken%20Too%20Fat.aspx?utm_campaign=2010-03-06-46296&utm_source=healthy-advantage&utm_medium=email&utm_content=healthy-well-wise_Is%20Your%20Chicken%20Too%20Fa&FromNL=1&sc_date=20100306T000000

CDC reports risk of urinary tract infection from chicken products

Raw chicken

There is growing concern about the safety of agricultural products, especially meat. Recalls are becoming more frequent - it’s early February, and according to the USDA, there have already been three meat recalls so far this year. Even more troubling is that approximately 70% of antibiotics produced in the U.S. are regularly given to farm animals for non-therapeutic reasons - not to treat existing infections – non-therapeutic use of anibiotics has been used for decades to promote weight gain in animals, which increases meat production and therefore profits.1  These practices are potentially fueling the emergence of dangerous drug-resistant strains of bacteria, which could make their way into our food supply.

Six to eight million cases of urinary tract infections (UTIs) occur each year in the U.S., 80% of which are caused by E. coli that is ingested in food, lives in the intestinal tract, and then travels from the intestinal tract to the urinary tract. Infections of the urinary tract are also the most common source of bacteria causing sepsis, or infection of the bloodstream. Drug-resistant bacterial UTIs are of course more difficult to treat.

Since intestinal E. coli is the most common source of UTIs, a group of Canadian researchers decided to test whether there was a link between contaminated food products and UTIs. These researchers had previously found that women who frequently ate chicken and pork were more likely to have drug-resistant UTIs.2

They collected urine samples from women diagnosed with urinary tract infections between 2005 and 2007. During this same time period they also collected samples of supermarket purchased chicken products, restaurant meals, and ready-to-eat foods.

Two isolated groups of E. coli were genetically indistinguishable between the chicken samples and human UTI samples. This means that these bacteria likely originated from the same source, and furthermore establishes that chicken products are a food-based source for bacteria that cause human UTIs.3

If you do not consume animal products, you can still reduce your risk of exposure by washing produce thoroughly – produce can become contaminated by animals or humans infected with E.coli.4

If you do eat animal products, you can take these steps to reduce the risk of ingesting harmful bacteria: cook meat and eggs thoroughly, be careful not to contaminate surfaces or other foods with raw meat, refrigerate leftovers promptly, and wash produce thoroughly. 

Purchasing meat from a source that does not practice non-therapeutic antibiotic use is a further step you can take to not promote the practices that drive the emergence of drug-resistant bacterial strains. Animals raised for meat and poultry products that carry the USDA organic label are not permitted to be given antibiotics.5

 

References:

1. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=most-us-antibiotics-fed-t

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/meat/safe/overview.html

2. Manges AR, Smith SP, Lau BJ, Nuval CJ, Eisenberg JN, Dietrich PS, et al. Retail meat consumption and the acquisition of antimicrobial resistant Escherichia coli causing urinary tract infections: a case-control study. Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2007;4:419–31. DOI:10.1089/fpd.2007.0026

3. Vincent C, Boerlin P, Daignault D, et al. Food reservoir for Escherichia coli causing urinary tract infections. Emerg Infect Dis. 2010;16:88-95.

http://www.cdc.gov/eid/content/16/1/pdfs/88.pdf

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-01/mu-rml012010.php

4. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2007/ucm108873.htm

5. http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/ofp/ofp.shtml

A New Reason Why I Don't Eat Chicken

 

I don’t eat chicken anymore. I used to, but I gave it up years ago. Now, if I had any delusions about picking it up again. They were thoroughly destroyed after seeing the nightmare that is chicken in a can.

 

 

What a vomit! At first I thought it was just a joke about an imaginary product, but its not. They actually sell whole chicken in a can and that unholy abomination will run you just under 50 bucks. Blech! No thanks!

Via Serious Eats.

Image credit: Olsenberg

Q & A: Do Chicken and Shrimp Lower Cholesterol?

A lot of people think a healthy diet means grilled chicken and pasta. Nope. Try again. In his book Cholesterol Protection for Life, Dr. Fuhrman explains chicken—and even lean meats—don’t do much to lower cholesterol. In this discussion from the member center, Dr. Fuhrman explains why foods like chicken and shrimp aren’t wise choices for heart health:

Question: I remember reading a while back that chicken and shrimp are low in fat but high in cholesterol. Is that true? My friend has a heart condition and his nutritionist told him shrimp and chicken were good to eat depending on how it was cooked. I would like to convince him otherwise. First, I want to make sure I have my facts straight.

Dr. Fuhrman: Animal products, including high protein white meat chicken raise cholesterol, not just because of its saturated fat and cholesterol content, but because animal protein also raises cholesterol. Secondly, it is not just about cholesterol. You must reduce low-phytochemical and low-antioxidant foods like animal products and leave room for the high-nutrient plant foods.

Image credit: protohiro

Flies and Chicken Poop Spreading Super Bugs!

New findings in the journal Science of the Total Environment claim flies flitting around chicken crap help spread drug-resistant superbugs. Test samples matched antibiotic-resistant bacteria on houseflies and poop found at intensive poultry-farming barns in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Flies spread all sorts of nastiness, such as cholera and salmonellosis. As many as 30,000 flies buzz in and out of poultry-houses every six weeks; Reuters reports.

In December, a study revealed trucks transporting chickens along highways leave behind a trail of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, setting up a health risk for people traveling these routes and individuals living nearby. Then last month Japanese researchers determined 20% of their poultry is contaminated with salmonella. Other countries only post 4% to 9%.

In the U.S. we eat sick or injured animals all the time. Warning! This video is graphic, but you’ll see how cattle ranchers and slaughterhouses feed us cows with infected tumors, chickens living in feces and pigs pumped with antibiotics. No, no human health risks there!

Via ChooseVeg.com.

Image credit: roblisameehan

Chicken Trucks Spread Bacteria!

A new study in the Journal of Infection and Public Health reveals poultry carriers leave behind a trail of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, putting motorists and individuals living along roads where chicken is transported at risk. Strains of the Enterococcus bacteria, which is harmful to human health, were collected off of test cars after driving behind poultry trucks; The Baltimore Sun reports.

Via TreeHugger.