A survey conducted by Consumer Reports indicates that of the 382 chickens it tested 62% had detectable Campylobacter and 14% had identifiable Salmonella and 32% of the birds tested were clear of both pathogens. Consumer Reports said the cleanest chickens were organic "air-chilled" broilers. The store-bought broilers were purchased in 22 states.
In a statement, the National Chicken Council acknowledged that raw chicken may harbor some microorganisms, but pointed out that these microorganisms are destroyed by heat in normal cooking. The group said consumers also are encouraged to follow safe handling and cooking instructions provided on every package of fresh meat and poultry sold in this country.
NCC also pointed to a much more comprehensive survey by USDA that found a lower prevalence of campylobacter and salmonella on raw chicken than reported by Consumer Reports. Further, NCC notes, the USDA survey found that the levels of microorganisms detected are usually very low.