People often tell me that they no longer eat beef or pork – but wouldn’t dream of giving up chicken! Although I choose not to eat chicken, I am always surprised when people tell me that they have used “real chicken” in my Fool a Carnivore recipes that are designed to replicate classic chicken dishes.
According to Consumer Reports, Americans eat 83 pounds of chicken per capita each year – and 48 million people become sick every year from eating food that is tainted with salmonella, e. coli, campylobactor, staphylococcus, and other forms of harmful bacteria. The eye-opening study in the magazine’s February, 2014 issue reveals that 97% of the samples it tested had some form of bacteria that can make you sick. The study also found that there was no significant difference between conventional samples and samples that were labeled organic or had no antibiotics.
If you still eat chicken, please do yourself a favor and read this excellent Consumer Reports article. Quiz yourself on whether you are practicing chicken safety in the way you buy, store, and cook chicken. An astonishing 72% of the survey respondents wash chicken before they cook it – which can significantly increase your risk of getting sick and can spread bacteria up to 3 feet away from your sink.
If the article makes you think the next time you reach for a package of chicken breasts, please know that there are plant-based alternatives that look and taste like chicken – but without this same risk of bacterial infection. There are great companies like Beyond Meat, Gardein, and Quorn that make delicious healthy alternatives to chicken – alternatives that are lower in fat, higher in fiber, and without the same risk of contamination from harmful strains of bacteria.
Do yourself a favor and check them out. What do you have to lose?