Danville, VA - There may be more bacteria than you think in the chicken you buy from the grocery store.
A Consumer Reports study found potentially harmful bacteria 97% of the 316 pieces of chicken they tested, including salmonella and e-coli.Experts say the only way to protect yourself is by taking precautions in the kitchen.
From sanitizing to cooking to storage, there are certain steps you should be taking to keep your food safe.Sam Fouad has been cooking for more than 35 years.
Inside his Danville restaurant, chicken is a popular item. He takes preparation very seriously.
"When you touch it a lot and it stays warm in your hand, you get bacteria on it. You have to touch it very quick when you're cooking, " Fouad said.
In the Consumer Reports study, they tested raw chicken from stores all over the country, and several came back positive for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Fouad says the line of defense he uses in his kitchen is proper sanitization, refrigeration and temperature.
Experts say, never re-use utensils or surfaces that have come in contact with raw chicken until they've been properly cleaned, and thoroughly sanitize your sink after washing poultry.
"There's a good possibility that the bacteria you've washed of the chicken is now on another surface in the kitchen that you could accidentally spread around, " said Clinical Nutrition Manager Michelle James.
Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. A meat thermometer is the only sure-fire way of knowing it's ready, yet the report found most consumers don't use them, and make sure your refrigerator is set to 40 degrees or lower.
It could make all the difference when dealing with salmonella and other bacteria.
"Keep it cold or keep it hot, and when in doubt, throw it out, " James said.