Booster Shots

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Unsavory issues during the holiday season

December 7, 2009 | 10:20 pm
First the chicken. Then the beef. What will be recalled next? Toy hamsters?

OK, so the fake rodents are probably safe, but the recent spate of bad news on the farm-animal front should cause meat-eaters across the U.S. to worry.

Consumer Reports released an investigation last week that found bacterial contamination in about two-thirds of whole chickens sold in the United States. The consumer group took 382 chickens from retail stores in 22 states and found only 34% were free of both salmonella and Campylobacter, which is responsible for causing food poisoning.

And this weekend, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that more than 22,000 pounds of beef from Fresno-based Beef Packers Inc. would be recalled because of salmonella concerns.

Now that the holiday season is upon us, it's time that we take care when we purchase, prepare and eat  meat. Here are a few tips on cooking the stuff, thanks to the Department of Health and Human Services.

-- Amina Khan