The Real Deal: Though it's not as well known as other types of bacteria, Campylobacter causes a million-plus cases of foodborne illness annually. It's also the number-one cause of diarrhea. Found in the intestines of poultry, these spiral-shaped organisms are transferred to the meat during the slaughtering process. The infections are rampant because the bacteriais so potent: The amount in a single drop of chicken juice can make you sick. Symptoms are similar to those of Salmonella—diarrhea, stomach pain, and fever within two to five days of exposure—but they tend to be less severe. However, about one in 1,000 cases triggers an immune disorder called Guillain-BarrÉ syndrome, which can cause muscle weakness, blurred vision, tingly limbs, and over time, permanent paralysis.
Defrost the right way
Never thaw poultry (or other meat) on the counter. Your best bet is to transfer it from freezer to fridge. Boneless breasts should be ready overnight; bone-in pieces may take a day or two. If you need it faster, defrost in the microwave, but the USDA recommends you cook it immediately afterward because some of the chicken may cook partially during microwaving.
Make sure your poultry is cooked through
Just because your meat isn't pink doesn't mean it's safe to eat. Stick a meat thermometer into the thickest part, usually the breast, to ensure it's reached at least 165 F.
Don't eat organ meat?