The USDA is reviewing research that shows new bacteria-killing chemicals used in chicken slaughterhouses may be masking the presence of salmonella and other pathogens that remain on the birds that consumers buy.
At issue in the latest allegations is the testing procedure the USDA requires.
This s what happens, the chickens are processed and sprayed with chemicals. To make sure that the most of the bacteria is killed, an some test chickens are pulled out and tossed into plastic bags filled with a solution that collects any remaining pathogens. That solution is sent to a lab for testing, which occurs about 24 hours later. Meanwhile, the bird is placed back on the line and ultimately packaged, shipped and sold.
Scientists say in order for tests to be accurate, it is critical that the pathogen-killing chemicals are quickly neutralized by the solution — something that routinely occurred with the older, weaker…
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