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Contaminated chickens in Germany raise health debate

Contaminated chickens in Germany raise health debate
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A survey in Germany has shown half the number of fresh chickens bought in shops in five cities were contaminated by germs resistant to antibiotics and could pose a danger to people with certain health issues.

The birds have been raised using intensive farming methods – keeping large numbers of animals in limited space – and that say Bund, the German Friends of the Earth group, is where the problem lies.

“The danger is that a transfer of the germs is possible while these chickens are being prepared. This might lead to some one absorbing the antibiotic-resistant bacteria and so exposing themselves and endangering their health,” explained Herbert Weiger, chairman of Bund the group which published the survey.

The results come as the government is preparing new laws to cut down on the use of antibiotics in livestock breeding.

“The toughening of the legal regulation aims to reduce the use of antibiotics to the absolute minimum necessary for the treatment of animal diseases and increase the competence of local authorities,” said Holger Eichele the spokesman for the ministry for consumer protection.

Bund admit that its survey was no more than a snapshot of the situation but underlined that every second chicken bought in a German supermarket is contaminated by antibiotic-resistant germs, evidence the groups says of continued abuse of antibiotics.