Yes. Chlorine in YOUR chicken. According to the National Chicken Council (yes this is a real thing) the use of chlorinated water in processing chicken is not only “safe,” but a common practice in the United States.
Federal regulators say the use of chlorine is safe and effective in poultry processing, explaining that studies show that once chlorine hits the bird, it breaks down into safe byproducts.
Chicken processing companies are allowed to use Hypochlorous acid, a weak acid produced when chlorine is dissolved in water. Poultry producers use hypochlorous acid at USDA-approved levels. Despite its use being approved by the USDA, many countries prohibit the importation of chickens.
According to a 2009 report from the LA Times, chicken can absorb up to 12% of their weight in the baths, which is then sopped up by that weird spongy thing that sits in the package underneath your raw chicken.. The more water the chickens absorb, the more chlorine their system takes in.
Is Chlorine Dangerous?
At high concentrations it is extremely dangerous for all living organisms, and were used in World War I as the first gaseous chemical warfare agent…
Chlorine gas can be recognized by its pungent, irritating odour. During or immediately after exposure to dangerous concentrations of chlorine, the following signs and symptoms may develop: blurred vision, burning pain, redness, and blisters on the skin if exposed to gas.
Are there other ways to disinfect my chicken that do not involve chlorine baths?
Absolutely. There is the preferred global method that uses steamed/hot water. There is also electrolyzed water, which is when salt water is subjected to an electrical current. The combination kills bacteria and pathogens. Finally there is ozonated water. Ozone can be formed when oxygen is acted upon by ultraviolet light to break up its atoms and then reattach three oxygen atoms instead of one. All three of the aforementioned methods produce less waste and less carcinogenic by-product than chlorine.
So what do I do if I want to reduce the amount of chlorinated chicken I am eating?
Make sure to buy organic chicken. U.S. organic chicken is not subject to chlorine baths.
and… Now You Know