Transcript: Phosphate Additives in Chicken
Most future medical professionals surveyed were insufficiently aware—in fact 2/3s had no clue—of the risks related to prolonged high dietary phosphate intake and even if they knew it was a problem, they didn't know which foods have had it added. 99% knew sugar was added to soda, but only 7% knew that phosphates were added. I bet even fewer would know they inject it into most packages of meat.
Though this practice remains banned in Europe thanks to a 1982 ruling, 11 different phosphate salts are now allowed to be injected into meat and poultry in the United States. Despite the fact that phosphate is considered an arterial toxin, causing our arteries to stiffen up within just two hours of consumption, making modern poultry not only more dangerous from a heart disease standpoint, but may also be making poultry more dangerous from a food safety standpoint.
What are the effects of phosphate additives on the survival of our #1 cause of bacterial food poisoning in chicken exudates? Chicken exudate is the same as poultry purge, the chicken "juice." It's the fluid that seeps out from processed poultry carcasses and is often found to be contaminated with considerable numbers of Campylobacter bacteria. It is comprised of water, blood, fats, and other materials added to the poultry during processing. If you don't inject chicken with phosphate, the exudates seeping into the package may grow about 100 campylobacter bacteria (this is a log scale). You add some phosphate and you're up to a hundred million bacteria--a million times more.
The addition of phosphates to chicken has the potential to increase the survival of Campylobacter by 100 fold or more. The infectious dose for campylobacter has been shown to be as little as 500 organisms. How much might there be in chicken? 100,000 can be easily recovered from washes of whole chicken carcasses.
So what does a million times more food poisoning bacteria mean for the risk to consumers? Well even just a hundred fold increase in these fecal matter bacteria can mean a 30 fold difference in the number of human outbreaks of Campylobacter, a food borne disease that can leave people paralyzed. But hey, if the poultry industry doesn't add phosphates, how are they going to enhance the moisture absorbance, color and flavor, and reduce product shrinkage?
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Ariel Levitsky.
To help out on the site please email firstname.lastname@example.org.