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Beware of foul fowl: Brown County experts offer tips on avoiding contaminated chicken

By Betty Nguyen, bnguyen@ktxs.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 08:09:29 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 20 2013 09:21:45 AM CST
BROWNWOOD, Texas -

The Consumer Reports released a study Thursday which states 97% of the more-than-300 chicken breasts tested contained harmful bacteria.

The Brown County Health Center's sanitation inspector Paul Coghlan said there hasn't been an issue with food-borne illness in Brown County yet and to ensure it stays that way, he offered advice on how you can avoid foul fowl.

"It's just how you kill it and how you prep it," Coghlan said. "You want to cook the chicken to a minimum temperature of 165."

When it comes to purchasing poultry, Coghlan said to check its color and texture. Also look for the expiration date and USDA label on packages.

He said most importantly, remember to wash your hands and keep everything clean.

"We recommend everything you cut, clean and sanitize after every job change. For example,if you cut vegetables, clean your cutting board, sanitize it, clean your work area and then start on another project...You can't cut chicken and then use the same knife to cut vegetables."

Dr. James Hayes, also with the Brown County Health Center, said chicken is the "life support system for Salmonella". He said eating chicken should be fine as long it is cooked thoroughly.

According to the Consumer Reports, about 48 million people get sick yearly from eating food tainted with Salmonella and other bacteria.

You can find more facts at http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/02/the-high-cost-of-cheap-chicken/index.htm