According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture survey, poultry processing that includes immersion in cold water and the use of antimicrobial interventions improves the microbiological profile of raw chickens and reduces the presence of salmonella and other microorganisms.

Data showed 5% of raw chickens had salmonella after chilling, and 11% had campylobacter, down from 41% and 71%, respectively, before evisceration. The actual number of bacteria on each raw chicken was reduced by about 99% on average with respect to campylobacter, and 66% on average for salmonella, the survey data show.

According to National Chicken Council’s Steve Pretanik, the heat of normal cooking destroys bacteria remaining on the raw product.

The USDA survey was conducted from July 2007 to June 2008 at 182 broiler slaughter plants. A total of 6,550 samples were studied.