Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Chicken for Chicken

I stopped eating beef in 1999. I was living in France during the mad cow scare, and the French engaged in an embargo on British beef, since the Brits were feeding the cows... other cows. The British responded by staging an embargo against French chocolate. Guess who got the raw deal on that one (hint: it wasn't the French, I've had Cadbury chocolate!)? When I got back to the US, I just didn't see the point in eating beef, since there really wasn't much done to improve beef standards except let it fall out of the news cycle, so I didn't go back to it, have haven't since.

Now, I think I'm off chicken.

I've had this vague discontent with chicken for a while. It just isn't the most tasty of meats in most iterations. Whatever it is dipped, marinated, or seasoned in tastes better than the actual meat itself. The chicken house at the Michigan State Fair, and the local county 4-H fairs, is a gross place. Dusty, dirty, with a hint of airborne infection just waiting to be inhaled. I was aware that in a lot of cases, chickens aren't treated well, but that was (at least as far as I knew) mostly limited to laying hens, so I had switched us to cage free eggs (turns out, that doesn't mean much.) Then there was a nationwide recall on chicken, and there were multiple packages of salmonella tainted meat in our freezer.

Then Consumer Reports did a cover story titled: "Is Your Chicken Safe to Eat?"

Short answer, no.

Not organic, nor free range, nor cage free, nor conventional chicken, nor brand name, nor store name. Chicken is the postal service of bacteria. Nothing gets in the way of getting e-coli to you.

Organic, free range, and cage free chickens are all treated like garbage, in big industrial complexes, where half of them can't walk, and are molting and dirty. They poop on each other, and "cage free" doesn't mean that they have enough space, and "free range" isn't much better. There wasn't a single brand or type of chicken tested that came out clean, and most included really, really nasty germs that could stick you in the hospital.

Kind of makes you lose your appetite, doesn't it?

So, I think this has finally pushed me over the edge. I think I'm done with chicken. I don't know that I can say that I'll never eat chicken again (especially if I'm travelling for work... go to another culture, eat what they serve you,) but I think for now at least, I'm going to pass on poultry if I have the option.

Good thing I like veggies.

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