More than 93 percent of fresh Israeli poultry reportedly is infected with a bacteria known to cause food poisoning.
The widespread presence of the Campylobacter bacteria was reported in a still unpublished study by Israel’s poultry council presented Wednesday at an internal meeting of the Ministry of Agriculture’s Veterinary Services, according to The Marker, a Haaretz business publication.
The bacteria is not present in frozen poultry because freezing kills the bacteria. However, according to The Marker, more than 90 percent of poultry sold in Israel is fresh at the time of sale.
The Campylobacter bacteria, which is the most common cause of bacterial food-borne illness in the United States, causes diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems, along with fever and pain. Symptoms usually occur two to five days after the food is eaten.
The bacteria can cause serious infections in children, according to The Marker, and is the leading cause of gastric disease in Israel.
According to Israel’s Ministry of Health, the bacteria was responsible for 8,000 cases of illnesses in 2013. The report estimates that for every reported case of food poisoning, there are between five and 10 unreported ones.
Israel does not require fresh poultry manufacturers to display warning labels on the risks of bacterial infection or guidelines on preventing exposure to bacteria.