Update: Consumer poultry report greeted by scepticism

Consumer Reports said tests on 525 chickens — including samples from Perdue, Pilgrim's Pride and Tyson Foods — showed most of the poultry had campylobacter or salmonella, two of the leading causes of food-borne diseases. A test conducted in 2003 showed 49% of the birds had at least one of the bacteria.

83% of chicken sold in US grocery stores may contain bacteria that cause food-borne illnesses, 34 percentage points higher than the rate it found three years ago.
Critics, however, said the study by Consumer Reports suffered from flaws that included an unreliably small number of samples. A US Agriculture Department spokesman called the report "junk science."
Steven Cohen, a spokesman with the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, said the study was riddled with flaws such as a small sample size and uncertainty over methodology.
"We think it's really startling," said Jane Halloran, a policy director for Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports.

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