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Chlorine Flavored Chicken, Any Takers?

Have you ever opened a package of chicken and been overwhelmed by the smell of chlorine/bleach? Then you diligently wash every piece of chicken before cooking it only to find out after your first bite that the chicken tastes like chlorine? Well this has happened to me several times.  I started to research this and found out that all commercial poultry processing plants use chlorine in their wash water to prevent and kill E. coli and Salmonella.

Eighty percent of American poultry is washed with chlorine.  Europe doesn’t support the usage of chlorine on commercial poultry and has banned American poultry since 1997. Russia banned chickens from countries using chlorine in poultry processing beginning Jan. 1 2010.  However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recommends the use of hypochlorus (i.e. active chlorine) solutions as an effective antimicrobial.

Chlorine is a carcinogen and is one of the three chemicals that form the cancer nucleus. The concern around using chlorine in our food supply is well founded. When chlorine is added to our water, it combines with other natural compounds to form Trihalomethanes (chlorination byproducts), or THMs. These chlorine byproducts trigger the production of free radicals in the body, causing cell damage, and are highly carcinogenic. Although concentrations of these carcinogens are low, it is precisely these low levels that cancer scientists believe are responsible for the majority of human cancers in the United States. The Environmental Defense Fund has stated that chlorine is a pesticide, with the sole purpose of killing living organisms. When we consume water or food products containing chlorine, it kills part of us, destroying cells and tissue inside our body.

Breast cancer, which now affects one in every eight women in North America, has recently been linked to the accumulation of chlorine compounds in the breast tissue. A study carried out in Hartford Connecticut, found that women with breast cancer have 50% to 60% higher levels of organochlorines (chlorination byproducts) in their breast tissue than women without breast cancer.

SLN's Take Home Message

Lesson learned, unless you grow your own chickens and butcher them yourself, you will likely be susceptible to ingesting chlorine. Becoming a vegetarian is looking more likely after learning about this.

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