Peterson noted that from 2001 to 2010, the latest 10-year period for which data are available, outbreaks related to E. coli, Salmonella, and other dangerous pathogens decreased by more than 40%, according to CSPI's own analysis.
According to CSPI, the illness data they use represent only a "small fraction of likely cases," Peterson said, thereby "biasing their data set from the start." Scientifically, if a complete data set were used and evaluated instead of evaluating only hand-selected data, the results would be quite different, Peterson added.
"The bottom line for consumers is that all chicken is safe to eat when properly handled and cooked," Peterson said. "Consumers can continue to feel confident about including chicken as a lean, low-fat and high-protein part of a healthy, balanced diet."
CPSI's study also ranked slight risk and medium risk meats, but said Clostiridium, which is linked to turkey, should be addressed by proper food handling.
"Keeping hot foods hot, refrigerating it within two hours of serving the meal, and using shallow storage dishes to ensure rapid chilling are all good strategies consumers can use to reduce their risk of getting sick from this common bacterium," Klein said.
For more information on preventing foodborne illness, view the USDA Foodborne Illness fact sheet.