The high cost of cheap chicken

The high cost of cheap chicken

97% of the breasts we tested harbored bacteria that could make you sick. Learn how to protect yourself.

Last updated: January 2014

Dangerous bacteria

We tested more than 300 raw chicken breasts from stores across the country.

When you shop at your favorite grocery store, you probably assume that the food on display is safe to take home. But in the poultry aisle, that simple assumption could make you very sick. Consumer Reports’ recent analysis of more than 300 raw chicken breasts purchased at stores across the U.S. found potentially harmful bacteria lurking in almost all of the chicken, including organic brands. In fact, we were conducting our research when news of the national salmonella outbreaklinked to three Foster Farms chicken plants became public. In that case 389 people were infected, and 40 percent of them were hospitalized, double the usual percentage in most outbreaks linked to salmonella. (Read about sustainable alternatives when it comes to raising chickens and watch our video on the use of antibiotics in animals.)

What’s going on with the nation’s most popular meat? (Americans buy an estimated 83 pounds per capita annually.) Though 48 million people fall sick every year from eating food tainted with salmonella, campylobacter, E. coli, and other contaminants, “more deaths were attributed to poultry than to any other commodity,” according to an analysis of outbreaks from 1998 through 2008 by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Here’s what you should know before buying your next package of chicken.

It’s unrealistic to expect that the uncooked chicken you buy won’t contain any potentially harmful bacteria. That’s one reason we advise you to prevent raw chicken or its juices from touching any other food and to cook it to at least 165˚ F. (Check our reviews of meat thermometers.) Yet some bacteria are more worrisome than others—and our latest tests produced troubling findings. More than half of the samples contained fecal contaminants. And about half of them harbored at least one bacterium that was resistant to three or more commonly prescribed antibiotics.

Public-health officials say they think that the resistance to antibiotics in general is such a major concern that in September the CDC released a landmark report outlining the dire threat it poses to our health. Antibiotic-­resistant infections are linked to at least 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. And if antibiotic-­resistant bacteria continue their scary spread, they could lead to deadly infections after routine surgery or even a seemingly innocuous cut because the drugs that doctors prescribe will have lost their effectiveness.

Our tests showed that those resistant bacteria are commonly found in chicken at your local grocery store. We collected samples in July 2013, months before the Foster Farms salmonella outbreak drew a public-health alert from the Department of Agriculture (USDA). It turned out that we had purchased a package of the tainted chicken and that our tests found a strain of salmonella (known as Heidelberg) that matched one of those linked to the outbreak.

Salmonella bacteria come in many strains. To understand their differences, think of all of the different breeds of dogs, says Lance Price, Ph.D., a professor in environmental and occupational health at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services in Washington, D.C. “All dogs are the same species, but a Chihuahua and a pit bull behave differently,” he says. The drug-resistant Heidelberg strain of salmonella associated with the Foster Farms outbreak is more likely than other strains to cause disease. Antibiotic resistance by itself doesn’t make a pathogen more virulent, but when it occurs in a virulent strain such as the Heidelberg, something inherently dangerous suddenly becomes even worse—a bacterium that Price says acts “like a pit bull with rabies.”

Most of the illnesses caused by Foster Farms chicken produced symptoms typical of any salmonella infection—nausea, vomiting, severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, and a low-grade fever, says Christopher Braden, M.D., director of the division of foodborne, waterborne, and environmental diseases at the CDC. What was different was that the outbreak sent about twice as many people to a hospital as a typical salmonella outbreak does. About 20 percent of people with salmonella end up hospitalized; almost 40 percent of those sickened by the Foster Farms-­produced chicken did, Braden says.

Rick Schiller of San Jose, Calif., was rushed to the E.R. after being sickened by chicken. 
Photo: Jeff Singer

Rick Schiller, 51, was one of those unlucky victims. In September the San Jose, Calif., resident woke up at 2 a.m. “I’ve never felt so sick in my life,” he said. In addition to vomiting and diarrhea, he had terrible stomach pain. His symptoms worsened during the next few days, and his abdominal pain became so severe that his fiancée rushed him to an emergency room.

Schiller’s doctor ordered a stool culture, which revealed salmonella Heidelberg. It was one of the strains identified in the Foster Farms outbreak. Schiller had bought two packages of Foster Farms chicken thighs, and his fiancée prepared a meal for him using one of them. The other package, which was still in his freezer, had a plant code that matched one associated with the outbreak


12 Medical Tests and Procedures Even Doctors Claim Are Useless

August 13, 2013 by DAVE MIHALOVIC

12 Medical Tests and Procedures Even Doctors Claim Are Useless

Doctors are often criticized for prescribing unneeded tests and procedures that harm more than they help and add to medical costs that could otherwise be avoided. 12 medical tests and procedures now being questioned worldwide as unnecessary and potentially cause — sometimes harmful results to patients. Since a campaign was launched last year, more than 130 tests and procedures have been called into question by 25 medical specialty societies with more than 500,000 member doctors.

“Millions of Americans are increasingly realizing that when it comes to health care, more is not necessarily better,” said Dr. Christine Cassel,  president of the ABIM Foundation. “Through these lists of tests and procedures, we hope to encourage conversations between physicians and patients about what care they truly need.”

United States specialty societies representing more than 500,000 physicians developed lists of Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question in recognition of the importance of physician and patient conversations to improve care and eliminate unnecessary tests and procedures. See the full list


1. Avoid Inducing Labor or C-Section Before 39 Weeks
Delivery prior to 39 weeks is associated with increased risk of learning disabilities, respiratory problems and other potential risks. While sometimes induction prior to 39 weeks is medically necessary, the recommendation is clear that simply having a mature fetal lung test, in the absence of appropriate clinical criteria, is not an indication for delivery. (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; American Academy of Family Physicians)

2. Avoid Routine Annual Pap Tests
In average-risk women, routine annual Pap tests (cervical cytology screenings) offer no advantage. (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists)

3. Avoid CT Scans To Evaluate Minor Head Injuries
Approximately 50 percent of children who visit hospital emergency departments with head injuries are given a CT scan. CT scanning is associated with radiation exposure that may escalate future cancer risk. CT technology exposes patients to approximately 100 times the radiation of a standard chest X-ray which itself increases the risk of cancer. The recommendation calls for clinical observation prior to making a decision about needing a CT. (American Academy of Pediatrics)

4. Avoid Stress Tests Using Echocardiographic Images
The recommendation states that there is very little information on the benefit of using stress echocardiography in asymptomatic individuals for the purposes of cardiovascular risk assessment, as a stand-alone test or in addition to conventional risk factors. (American Society of Echocardiography)

5. Avoid Prescribing Type 2 Diabetes Medication To Achieve Tight Glycemic Control
The recommendation states that there is no evidence that using medicine to tightly control blood sugar in older diabetics is beneficial. In fact, using medications to strictly achieve low blood sugar levels is associated with harms, including higher mortality rates. (American Geriatrics Society)

6. Avoid EEGs (electroencephalography) on Patients With Recurrent Headaches.
Recurrent headache is the most common pain problem, affecting up to 20 percent of people. The recommendation states that EEG has no advantage over clinical evaluation in diagnosing headache, does not improve outcomes, and increases costs. (American Academy of Neurology)

7. Avoid Routinely Treating Acid Reflux
Anti-reflux therapy, which is commonly prescribed in adults, has no demonstrated effect in reducing the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in infants, and there is emerging evidence that it may in fact be harmful in certain situations. (Society of Hospital Medicine)


8. Avoid Lipid Profile Tests
Lipid Profile test checks various parameters of blood, such as cholesterol (good or high density lipoprotein as well as bad or low density lipoprotein) and triglyceride levels. Several scientific papers have proven that people with high so-called “bad” LDL cholesterol live the longest and there is noow a large number of findings that contradict the lipid hypothesis that cholesterol has to be lowered at all.

9. Avoid Mammograms
Mammograms and breast screening have had no impact on breast cancer deaths and have actually been found to increase breast cancer mortality. With toxic radiation, mammogram testing compresses sensitive breast tissue causing pain and possible tissue damage. To make matters worse, the false negative and false positive rates of mammography are a troubling 30% and 89% respectively. Another concern is that many breast cancers occur below the armpits; however, mammography completely misses this axiliary region, viewing only the breast tissue compressed between two plates of glass. Considering these drawbacks, breast thermography should be given closer consideration. Thermography is a non-invasive and non-toxic technique which can detect abnormalities before the onset of a malignancy, and as early as ten years before being recognized by mammography. This makes it much safer and potentially life-saving health test for women who are unknowingly developing abnormalities, as it can take several years for a cancerous tumor to develop and be detected by a mammogram.

10. Avoid PSA Testing
A PSA blood test looks for prostate-specific antigen, a protein produced by the prostate gland. High levels are supposedly associated with prostate cancer. The problem is that the association isn’t always correct, and when it is, the prostate cancer isn’t necessarily deadly. Nearly 20 percent of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, which sounds scary, but only about 3 percent of all men die from it. The PSA test usually leads to overdiagnosis — biopsies and treatment in which the side effects are impotence and incontinence. Moreover, there is some evidence which suggests that biopsies and treatment actually aggravate prostate cancer. During a needle biopsy, a tumor may need to be punctured several times to retrieve an amount of tissue that’s adequate enough to be screened. It is believed that this repeated penetration may spread cancer cells into the track formed by the needle, or by spilling cancerous cells directly into the bloodstream or lympathic system.

11. Avoid Routine Colorectal Cancer Screening

Colorectal cancer screening often results in unnecessary removal of benign polyps which are of no threat to patients and the risks of their treatment or removal far exceed any benefit. The evidence is insufficient to assess the benefits and harms of computed tomographic colonography and fecal DNA testing as screening modalities for colorectal cancer.

12. Avoid DEXA
Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA or DXA) in a technique developed in the 1980s that measures, among many things, bone mineral density. The scans can determine bone strength and signs of osteopenia, a possible precursor to osteoporosis. Limitations abound, though. Measurements vary from scan to scan of the same person, as well as from machine to machine. DEXA doesn’t capture the collagen-to-mineral ratio, which is more predictive of bone strength than just mineral density. And higher bone mineral density doesn’t necessarily mean stronger bones, for someone with more bone mass will have more minerals but could have weaker bones.

Meanwhile, the ABIM effort is gaining momentum and more financial support from key players. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced it has awarded $2.5 million to “fund medical specialty societies and regional health improvement collaboratives to work in specific communities to raise awareness of potential overuse of medical care.”

“Reducing the overuse of health care resources is a critical part of improving quality of health care in America,” said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s president and chief executive officer. “We want to see what can happen when this work is targeted in specific geographic regions and are pleased to help increase the tangible impact of the Choosing Wisely campaign.”


Dave Mihalovic is a Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in vaccine research, cancer prevention and a natural approach to treatment.



5 Tips to Attract Positive Energy into Your Home

If you are moving into a new home or just updating your current space, consider setting up your place to attract more positive energy. Your choice of furnishings, accessories and their placement can have a huge impact on the energy within your home. Your home should be your sanctuary where you can feel nurtured, energized and fulfilled.

An ancient Chinese practice known as feng shui delves into the arrangement of your home in order to bring in good “Chi” or energy into your space. Loosely based on feng shui concepts, here are five tips to consider for bringing positive energy into your home.

1. Space

Space is an important concept to think about. It doesn’t matter whether your home is large or small or even if you live in a tiny room! To bring more positive energy into any size space be sure it is well organized and free of clutter. Consider what is really essential and what can be discarded or given to charity.

Your home should be your sanctuary where you can feel nurtured, energized and fulfilled.

Freeing up clutter paves the way for good energy to flow within the home. Space doesn’t necessarily mean “sparse.” The key is to get rid of things that don’t belong since they represent stagnant energy which can become negative and weigh you down at home.

2. Lighting

Proper lighting and air quality can also influence the energy in your home. Be sure to open your blinds to include as much natural light as possible in each area. Darkness slows down vibrations within a space and even causes feelings of depression. If natural lighting is a challenge try searching for some “natural light” or “full spectrum” light bulbs or LED lights.

3. Air Quality

Air quality is also important. Make sure air filters are changed regularly in heating and air conditioning systems. You may also want to invest in an air purifier. Green houseplants are nature’s air purifiers and have some great bonuses.

They add beauty to your environment and they are living things with their own energy fields. That’s a double boost of positivity! Also think about adding some aromatherapy or incense. Sage, light floral and citrus scents work best.

4. Color

Color choices play a big role in your home’s energy. Black, while stylish can actually attract and hold negative energy if used in too large a quantity. You don’t need to get rid of your black items, just be sure to balance them out with other bright and cheerful colors.

White is one of the best colors to attract positive energy. If you think of white light, it actually contains all the colors of the rainbow when seen through a prism. This makes the color white very powerful indeed!

A word of caution, too much white can feel overwhelming so be sure to balance it out with some other colors. Earth tone colors are especially nice to bring in some grounding and centering energy. Green plants can help with this too in addition to cleansing the air!

The major colors of the rainbow can also help with positive vibrations in the home. Each color has unique aspects, so including more of that color in your home can help draw that energy in.

Here is a quick rundown just to get an idea:


are great for romance and action, but too much can invite anger.


suggest warmth and enthusiasm, but too much can cause restlessness.


invite joy and inspiration, but too much can cause feelings of uncertainty.


are healing and nurturing, but overdoing green can induce laziness.


are calming and peaceful, but too much blue (particularly deep blue or indigo) can attract depressive energy.


are good for inspiration and luxury. Violet in particular is good for healing and manifesting. Too many purples or violets can call in serious and even sorrowful energy. No matter what colors are used in your décor, be sure to strive for balance.

5. Furniture and Accessories

Selecting furniture and accessories can also influence the energy in your home. To keep it positive, choose pieces that you love. If shopping vintage or second hand, be sure to energetically cleanse your pieces.

Burn some sage around these items, use a liquid sage spray or leave your possessions in the sunlight for a few hours if possible. You don’t want old or foreign energy in your space. Even if items are new, consider doing this to set the intention of positive energy for you and your home.

Item placement is also a factor in attracting positive energy. Try to avoid clutter and overcrowding furniture and accessories. They need some room so energy can flow. This goes back to the idea of space. Also be mindful of the colors you select for furniture and accessories. Lastly, think about adding mirrors to open up an area and reflect that good energy coming into your home.

A lot more can be said about inviting positive energy into your home but these tips will help get you started. Strive for a happy balance and have fun decorating!






Four Catholic men and a Catholic woman were having coffee in St. Peter’s Square.

The first Catholic man tells his friends,“My son is a priest. When he walks into a room, everyone calls him ‘Father’.”

The second Catholic man chirps, “My
son is a Bishop. When he walks into a room people call him ‘Your Grace’.”

The third Catholic gent says, “My son is
a Cardinal. When he enters a room everyone bows their head and says 

Your Eminence’. ”

The fourth Catholic man says very
proudly, “My son is the Pope. When he walks into a room people call him “Your

 Since the lone Catholic woman was sipping her coffee in silence, the four men give her a subtle, “Well….?”.

She proudly replies, “I have a daughter,


When she walks into a room, people say,

” Oh My God “. 

10 Songs That Will Make You Feel Beautiful

10 Songs That Will Make You Feel Beautiful

by: on April 5, 2012

“Who Says” by Selena Gomez
If you’re feeling down, this song will cheer you up. “I’m no beauty queen/I’m just beautiful me.” Right on, Selena!

“What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction
These Brit boys know what’s what: you shouldn’t feel insecure.

“Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars
Maybe you like to wear makeup, but Bruno reminds you that you don’t need makeup. Why? Because you’re perfect! Just the way you are! Duh!


“Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera
Um, this is THE classic “you are beautiful so don’t ever forget it” song–so don’t.

“Hey You” by Miranda Cosgrove
This is an ode to your BFF who doesn’t know how amazing she is, even when she sees the beauty and goodness in everyone else around her. Could Miranda actually be singing about you?

“Perfect” by Pink
Despite mistakes you’ve made, you’re nothing less than perfect as a YOU. Sounds cheesy? Maybe it is, but that doesn’t make it bunk!

“Beautiful Soul” by Jesse McCartney
People say beauty is only skin-deep, but that’s tough to internalize when it seems like society’s saying you’re not pretty and that being externally “pretty” is the most important thing in the world. Guess what? We need to redefine beauty. If you have a beautiful soul, you are beautiful!


“Who You Are” by Jessie J
We’re not gonna lie. It can be really, really hard to feel good about yourself. When you feel hopeless and lost and broken, it is even more difficult–but know that’s what makes you who you are.

Read more:

“Pretty Girl Rock” by Keri Hilson
Take it from self-esteem queen Lady Gaga, sometimes you need to just dance. Try this song, and don’t hate us ‘cause we’re beautiful!

“Firework” by Katy Perry
Let’s end this playlist on a high note. You are worthy, you are worth it, and you shouldn’t let anyone make you feel like crap. Get it? Got it? Good!

Read more:

Sunny Leone bought by Arabs, Caged

Sunny Leone bought by Arabs, Caged

Arabs couldn’t resist hot Indian porn actress Sunny Leone’s charm and decided to cash in with her popularity. The news is that they paid handsome amount to Sunny Leone and forced her to do what a decent Arab woman could never do.

Sunny Leone is going to be brought in a cage on the stage surrounded by 6000 men in white who only see women dressed in fully black from top to toe.

They have also arranged a private luxury yacht for her to entertain rich VIP guests only.

What shall we call it? Broad day light Arab prostitution!

Ah well who cares, she has seen the lowest of low of her life and she is on cloud 9 with the Indian adulation so nothing wrong in cashing in on her porn popularity. It’s raining money for the dusky babe.

The truth behind health food

The truth behind health food

Omega 3 is good for the heart, soya is beneficial for women, you should get a diet rich in iodine and avoid bad sugars… There are so many rules around for getting healthy food on your plate. How do sort out what is true from what is just plain wrong?

Health food lies
© Thinkstock

Obviously, what we eat has an impact on our health. But how do you know exactly what is “good” for you? To get a clearer picture of brands’ healthy eating claims, and what is true or false, here are a few explanations taken from the French Food Safety Agency’s publication Nutrition and Dietary Dangers.

You should increase your omega 3 intake: True!

Products enriched in omega 3 have invaded supermarket shelves. And they seem to have suddenly become essential for our health. But is omega 3 really that important? For scientists, Omega 3 acids have unrivalled benefits against cardiovascular diseases. They help to lower blood pressure in those with high blood pressure, and triglycerides in individuals with elevated levels. They do not, however, have an effect on bad cholesterol.

The only downside is that all these benefits have been proved mainly in individuals with a family history of heart trouble. The benefits for people who are in good health are merely assumed. Nevertheless, the French Food Safety Agency emphasises the fact that we don’t get enough omega 3. While it should represent 0.8% of our total daily energy intake, studies have shown that we only get around 0.1% to 0.4%. Eating fish, rapeseed oil and foods enriched in omega 3 is therefore essential.

You are probably deficient in iodine: True!

Iodine is a mineral that is required for the production of thyroidal hormones. These are essential for pregnant women (for the cerebral development of the foetus), in children, adolescents, and also in adults. Studies have shown that 17% of pregnant women present deficiencies in thyroidal hormones at the end of their pregnancies, and 11% have a goiter. The risk of deficiency is equally high in adolescents and adults. On the other hand, children’s requirements before the age of ten are largely covered, and there is even a risk of getting too much iodine for under threes!

To avoid deficiencies, it should be noted that iodine is not found on land but in the sea, and there are not many foods which are a source of this nutrient, except for the obvious food groups: fish and seafood… Nonetheless, eggs and dairy products are also good sources, as well as foods enriched in iodine of course. But for the moment, it is mainly table salt which is supplemented with iodine, and you should be careful not to get too much salt. Health authorities are looking into changing this, and enriching bread, biscuits and confectionery with iodine instead.

You should eat less sugar: False!

As paradoxical as this may seem, to fight against the obesity epidemic, you should not be eating less sugar. On the contrary, to get a healthy, balanced energy intake, you should replace fat in your diet with complex sugars (carbohydrates). It is still true that you need to reduce your consumption of simple sugars; for example, fizzy drinks and other sugary drinks which are your figure’s worst enemies. The body does not take account of calories in liquid form, which are therefore automatically excess. You need to be able to spot hidden sugar:

  • Yoghurt with three types of fruit = 3 sugars
  • Can of fizzy drink = 6 sugars
  • A chocolate bar = 5 sugars and a teaspoon of oil
  • A packet of chocolate biscuits (300g) = 15 to 20 sugars and 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil

Soya is good for menopausal women: False!

Foods which are based on soya, and other food supplements, are really taking off, especially among menopausal women. But why? This plant contains substances which are similar to female hormones: phytoestrogens. Could these compensate for the lack of hormones produced by the ovaries? According to the scientific literature on the subject, these phytoestrogens in soya are not recommended for women. The effect on hot flushes has never been officially proved. Phytoestrogens do not have a convincing effect against osteoporosis either (no decrease in the number of fractures), even if they seem to encourage the mineralisation of bone. Protection against cancer is also difficult to confirm… The only benefit that seems to have been demonstrated is the improvement of cognitive function.

Be careful also not to mistake other things for soya, like those little white shoots you find everywhere, especially in salads or in spring rolls… these aren’t what they seem! There are actually mung beans. On the other hand, tofu, soya milk and soya yoghurts and desserts are all good sources.

Now you are ready for real healthy eating, bon appetit!



The photos are great but the philosophy is even better

We never get what we want,
We never want what we get,
We never have what we like,
We never like what we have.
And still we live & love.
That’s life…

The best kind of friends,
Is the kind you can sit on a porch and swing with,
Never say a word,
And then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had.

It’s true that we don’t know
What we’ve got until it’s gone,
But it’s also true that we don’t know
What we’ve been missing until it arrives.

Giving someone all your love is never an assurance that they’ll love you back!
Don’t expect love in return;
Just wait for it to grow in their heart,
But if it doesn’t, be content it grew in yours.

It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone,
An hour to like someone,
And a day to love someone,
But it takes a lifetime to forget someone.

Don’t go for looks; they can deceive.
Don’t go for wealth; even that fades away.
Go for someone who makes you smile,
Because it takes only a smile to
Make a dark day seem bright.
Find the one that makes your heart smile!

May you have
Enough happiness to make you sweet,
Enough trials to make you strong,
Enough sorrow to keep you human,
And enough hope to make you happy

Always put yourself in others’ shoes.
If you feel that it hurts you,It probably hurts the other person, too.

The happiest of people
Don’t necessarily have the best of everything;
They just make the most of everything that comes along their way.
Happiness lies for
Those who cry,
Those who hurt,
Those who have searched,
And those who have tried,
For only they can appreciate the importance of people
Who have touched their lives.

When you were born, you were crying
And everyone around you was smiling.
Live your life so that when you die,
You’re the one who is smiling
And everyone around you is crying.

Please share this message
To those people who mean something to you,
To those who have touched your life in one way or another,
To those who make you smile when you really need it,
To those that make you see the brighter side of things When you are really down,
To those who you want to know
That you appreciate their friendship.

And if you don’t, don’t worry,
Nothing bad will happen to you,
You will just miss out on the opportunity
to brighten someone’s life with this message…