The National Chicken Council and several scientists say that the ABC News report linking strains of E. coli found in store-bought chicken to antibiotic-resistance forms of urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women is misleading and scientifically inaccurate.
The ABC News report, led by Jim Avila, cites a study conducted at McGill University that concluded it is “likely” that the E. coli strains found to cause the UTIs come from those found on chicken products.
An article based on the research was published in the March issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, published by the Centers for Disease Control.
However, “The resistances observed in these E. coli are common globally and are unlikely to be attributed to chickens given the few antibiotics available for use in poultry in the U.S.,” said Randall Singer, a veterinarian and associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, in a release distributed by the NCC.
The NCC also refutes the statistics cited by Avila on the proportion of antibiotics sold in the U.S. overall that are administered to animals.
“The fact is there is no comparable human and animal data that makes such an analysis possible,” the organization says.
“FDA has outlined this point in letters to Congress that list several reasons the data cannot be compared and used in this manner.”
Finally, the organization noted that proper handling of raw meat and thorough cooking ensures that bacteria are not transferred in cross-contamination or consumption, thus eliminating the danger altogether.
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