Nightly News   |  December 19, 2013

How to make sure your chicken is safe

Two respected consumer groups have issued reports criticizing the government’s failure to make sure the US poultry supply is safe. One group did a test of chicken bought in grocery stores across America -- and got unsettling results.  NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> back with news that might be tough to take during the dinner hour. it's about food safety and a new concern about chicken. our report from our chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman .

>> reporter: they are recovering from food poisoning .

>> reporter: the most popular meat in the united states -- chicken -- made people sick this fall. rick schiiler was one of them.

>> the pain was unbearable in my stomach. i felt i was going to die.

>> reporter: who is to blame for the outbreak? a new report says the government agency charged with food safety is failing consumers.

>> we think the government should be testing more often than it does to make sure that the food that's being produced is, in fact, safe.

>> reporter: currently the usda inspects chicken plants just once a year. some every other year. in response the usda has a new plan that will mean enhanced microbial testing, contamination testing and stronger food safety testing.

>> 97% contained one of six bacteria that could be potentially harmful on them. even more concerning than that was that half of the samples we found had resistance to three or more antibiotic classes.

>> reporter: the national chicken council says 99.9% of oh poultry is consumed safety but there are things you can do. regardless of where you buy chicken there are simple things you can do in the kitchen to stay safe. only handle chicken with a plastic bag to keep the juice away from your skin. don't rinse it because that can cause splatter on kitchen counters. any knife or cutting board needs to be thoroughly washed after preparing chicken. to make sure the meat is cooked use a meat thermometer and make sure the number registers 165 degrees. good food and no reason not to be safe. dr. nancy snyderman , nbc news, new york.