Too often, America's food-safety net has holes. Although Perdue chickens were cleaner than other big brands in our tests, and most air-chilled organic brands were especially clean, our tests are a snapshot in time and no type has been consistently low enough in pathogens to recommend over all others. Buying cleaner chicken may improve your odds if you fail to prepare chicken carefully. If you choose organic, be aware that it cost us up to $4.55 more per pound than the rest.
Whatever bird you buy, one slipup and you're at risk. Most important is to cook chicken to at least 165º F. Even if it's no longer pink, it can still harbor bacteria, so use a meat thermometer. The Polder THM-360, $30, and Taylor Weekend Warrior 806, $16, were excellent in our tests. Other tips:
For more ways to help ensure that your food is safe, go to our Web site at www.BuySafeEatWell.org.