Chicken shit

Much has been made of naming and shaming the supermarkets who sell chicken with bacteria on them. Well here’s an interesting fact.

Supermarkets and indeed all food sellers do not add bacteria to the food they sell. In fact they go to considerable lengths to make sure the food they sell does not come with added bacteria. As a food seller, nothing puts you out of business faster than a food poisoning outbreak traced back to you.

I have worked with both Salmonella and Campylobacter in poultry so here is the real deal.

Salmonella is far less of a problem than it has been but once it was not a problem at all. There was a species of Salmonella that caused disease in chickens (but not in humans) and the veterinarians went to great lengths to get rid of it. It was a productivity issue. They succeeded but vets are not microbiologists.

Microbiologists understand the concept, in bacterial terms, of an ecological niche. Which means that if you take out one species from a complex population, something else is going to move in. This never fails. The one that moved in, Salmonella enteriditis, was harmless to chickens but it gives humans the power to shit through a sieve while the mesh catches nothing lumpy apart from maybe a kidney or a pancreas. Nasty but not often fatal.

Salmonella can get into chicken ovaries and into eggs. Not in huge numbers but it can do it. It needs to get into your gut in huge numbers to set up a fire-sale of watery poo because if it goes in as a small gang it gets beaten to death by the unashamedly racist bacteria who already live there. They don’t like immigrants in your gut. If you are a multiculti supporter you might want to take high doses of antibiotics to quell the BNP tendencies of your personal internal bacteria. Then you can welcome all comers.

If you are anti-racist then you absolutely must quell your internal racism. How else can you sleep at night? Five grams of peniciilin daily will save you.

Apart from the eggs, Salmonella on chickens is just surface contamination. Half-decent cooking wipes it out and old-style hygiene (washing hands and disinfecting surfaces) will ensure you never suffer the indiginity of becoming an upside-down slurry sprayer and have to clean pebbledash off the pan.

Also, there is now a successful live vaccine applied to chickens through drinking water that has pretty much eradicated the problem. It’s not completely gone but it’s much less of a thing to worry about.

Campylobacter is one of those bacteria that microbiology refers to in technical terms as a ‘bloody little bastard’.

It does not get into eggs but it does something Salmonella does not do. It gets into muscle. To kill this one you have to cook the chicken all the way through. Completely. None of this – ‘good enough, a bit pink but that won’t matter’ – yes, it does. This one can cause much more than just the squeaky-burny anus. Campylobacter is killed by cooking but cooking means getting the centre of the meat to at least 80C.

So where does it come from?

In scientific terms, to put it in the full jargon of centuries of scientific study… fuck knows.

It is not in the eggs. Chicks are never hatched with the infection in place.

It appears in chicks at around three weeks of age and when it does it spreads wider and faster than a Cardiff dock-tart’s legs.

How does it get in? Well, farms are not immune to rats and mice and sparrows and housemartins and so on, and cannot be made so. You cannot make a small house impervious to these creatures, what chance does a farmer with a huge barn have? Still, the actual source has not yet been found and you can bet all those potential sources have been tested. Short answer – we don’t know how or why it infects chicks at three weeks old. It just does.

There is currently a lot of research going on to try to smash this damn infection but it is all happening at farm level. It has nothing at all to do with supermarkets. They cannot control this, it is a farm-level problem and that  is where the research is centred. We will win but it could take quite some time.

In the meantime, all you need is basic hygiene (wash hands, use disinfectant, don’t chop lettuce where you’ve just chopped raw meat) and cook chicken until the skin shatters when stuck with a fork.

Slit the leg-skin so the legs splay to let the heat in (okay, anyone thinking anything sexual at this point is officially disgusting). Don’t stuff the body cavity, cook stuffing separately. If you have a meat thermometer, use it. Cook the chicken breast-down so the breast meat doesn’t dry out and prick the skin all over to help it self-baste. Also baste.

Campylobacter is not some new thing. It is one of those diseases previously generically referred to as ‘the shits’. It is a problem for science because it is such an awkward little swine but it isn’t really that much of a problem for people who want to eat chicken.

Just do what Granny did. Cook the bugger until you can carve it with a sharp look and always wash your hands and work surfaces.

And stop trying to blame the sellers for selling you want you want to buy. If you manage to put the supermarkets out of business you’ll have to raise your own chickens. They will all get Campylobacter at three weeks old and will be riddled with Salmonella because you can’t afford the vaccine. You will know nothing about either of them because you can’t afford a microbiologist.

The ‘progressives’ would genuinely consider that an improvement.

Would you?

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40 thoughts on “Chicken shit

  1. “Don’t stuff the body cavity, cook stuffing separately “

    I’ve always loved the infusion of flavour from actual stuffing. Both the chicken and the stuffing seem to taste better that way. Won’t cooking sufficiently eliminate any problems?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well thanks for that. My Sunday roast chicken dinner is looking less appertising. Although to be fair I do have a habit of incinerating everything I cook. However, just to to be certain I’ll add a tincture of napalm and garnish with DDT. Yummy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “In the meantime, all you need is basic hygiene..”

    Oh. Damn.

    We’re doomed then, if the evidence of my nose on a hot summer Tube train journey is any indication…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for that: I was waiting for your professional advice on the subject which turned out to be what I’ve been doing anyway. I don’t trust public health pronouncements any more.
    Now to persuade Mr L to store raw chicken and other meats towards the bottom of the fridge in leakproof wrapping, not shoved in anyhow dripping its juices onto other stuff which I then have to throw away. But I don’t think I’ll succeed: we’ve just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary and as one of our cards said “It’s great to find that special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy anniversary, and here’s an anniversary tip – only leave space at the bottom of the fridge. We men do not rearrange things, we shove new stuff wherever there is space for it.

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  5. I heard a discussion on this just the other day. A person from the retailers v a ranter refereed by Jeremy Vile. Ranter wouldn’t stop shouting and hogging the mike. The retailers were to blame because they were selling poisoned food. Retailer chap kept calm and Jeremy made sure he got the retailer guy to actually speak at all.

    Here’s an idea. Why don’t people take responsibility for their own actions? Read the label? Do what the Leggies advise?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “Why don’t people take responsibility for their own actions?” Aagh! Heresy! Don’t you realise this is the 21st century? Where there’s a chance there’s a chancer!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Its called ‘fowl’ for a reason.

    A childhood of the Sunday Chicken being recycled on Monday to Cold chicken sandwiches and soup on Tuesday and Wednesdays has left me with an aversion to all poultry….Turkey just makes me want to retch and the only Grouse worth eating comes, handily, in liquid form…although my ‘Sponsor’ would disagree.

    Men need red meat. Preferably with it’s complete fat content glazed and crispy bits. It’s a genetic thing, don’t fight it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was sick of turkey by the time I was 10. It’s a horrible food. I am still trying to catch reindeer steaks at Lidl but they sell out fast. I did get some kangaroo meat last year, That was very good indeed.

      Always buy the cheaper cuts of things like beef or pork. They have more fat on them and they roast properly. The expensive, lean stuff comes out dry.

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  8. “In scientific terms, to put it in the full jargon of centuries of scientific study… fuck knows.”

    Tho answers are still claimed, that describes a lot of what passes for science these days.

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  9. “indiginity of becoming an upside-down slurry sprayer and have to clean pebbledash off the pan.”

    Real, proper Salmonella – not Salmonella Lite- will make ‘pebble dashing’ the least of your toiletry worries. When you fill the bowl with what looks like Tomato Ketchup T H E N you have salmonella. Before that, it is just the ‘collywobbles’ as my Ol’ Gran would have said…although actually she wouldn’t cos she’d been in service to Posh people and knew h’a Lady never mentioned unmentionable things …just tipped the juniorest maid something extra at Xmas.

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    • Well yes, and if you had real Salmonella you wouldn’t be cleaning the bog because you’d be too busy spewing in the sink at the same time.

      When Salmonella wants to leave your body, it’s leaving and nothing is going to stop it.

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      • Quite. On holiday in Devon, probably 30 years ago now, we were given “proper Salmonella poisoning” My wife and I are never ever going to forget that first night. 3 kids about 5-10 years old, all 5 of us, So while emptying absolutely every thing from every orifice, we had to continually clean up the 3 of them as well, it started at about 1 AM, and between us went on all night. Didn’t touch any meat for over month, just couldn’t do it. the entire remainder of the holiday “What do you fancy?” answer for first 2 days “Chips”,”Sticky Bun” anything that has not been near a chicken pie!!.

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        • ” it started at about 1 AM, and between us went on all night.”

          You were ‘lucky’ (some luck I know!) you got the ‘Elvis has left the house in a hurry’ variant. There are some that, when they have purged every molecule of food,water and excreta from your body they then decide you need a complete blood swap too. The dose I had went on for nearly a week. DO you know how much blood the human bowel can hold? It is IMPRESSIVE. That was 25 years ago in Germany (trust me, I recall exactly, painfully, where I was the night The Wall fell!) and by now what remains of my major intestines have no doubt flowed down the Rhine and out into the North Sea.

          Salmonella is also strange in that it is one of those ‘the bigger you are the harder you..’ . If you’re a 6ft bloke, it will poleaxe you like a Chuck Norris punch , if you’re a 10 year old asthmatic girl then you’ll probably only need one change of knickers.

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          • When the wall fell!… the most celebrated night in Europe for years and years and you were cuddling the plumbing 😦

            (one change of knickers) [Graphic detail that I remember distinctly] Went I heard the groans from their room I of course went in…one of the girls had long hair past her shoulders, and hadn’t woken up in time before the top end ejection started 😦 It almost makes me chuck up remembering the absolute mess, she is sat in the bath, I am trying to clean her hair, trying not to chuck up, to help her chuck up, trying to clean her hair.. then the other ends would start, you probably you get it. Sorry for that picture I’m sure you were as bad.

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  10. Now you all mention it, I reckon it was samolnela I had whilst working on the farm with pigs, hens and ducks, feeding, collecting eggs, (and eating them fresher than most of you heve EVER eaten them! I mean as the drop out of the hen, catch it before it hits the straw, crack it, swallow it whole and raw, slaughtering, and mucking out.

    Most times not in that exact order.

    None of this nancy boy “washing your hands” in-between.

    GREAT fun!

    Once you have had it, you are imune. Kids today just do not get the chance.

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    • That situation does sound like a Salmonella-rich environment. Don’t count on that immunity. It just means you need a higher dose next time. Kids today can get taken down with a dose that wouldn’t touch any of us oldies, though. In fact, you can give them the shits just by talking about it.

      So you have eaten the unborn while its mother watched? You have earned your pitchfork and tail in the afterlife.

      Like

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