Dear Straight Dope;
Why is raw chicken treated like it’s radioactive? We’re told to wash our hands after touching it, not to let it touch other foods or cooking surfaces, and on and on. These seem to be common sense proceedures when handling any type of raw meat, but it seems like raw chicken bears a very bad reputation among meats, as if it were extra dangerous…the Happy Fun Ball of foods.
This seems odd to me because I hear of far more cases of food borne illnesses caused by vegetables. We’ve got killer cantelope. Recalls of bagged salads and spinach. Canned veggie recalls. I can’t remember the last time I heard about an outbreak of food-borne illness caused by chicken, but I can remember the last time I heard of a bad batch of ground beef being sold…it was last week.
So I guess I have a few questions. Is it the way that chicken is processed, compared to the way beef and pork are processed, that causes the problem? Is the fact that people are constantly warned about raw chicken the reason I can’t remember a food-borne illness outbreak involving said chicken? Is it a matter of percentages, i.e., we as a nation consume more beef, pork and vegetables than we consume chicken?
Any help with these daunting questions appreciated. Thank you! April Hughes, Wauconda, IL.