Dangerous germs in Lidl chicken meat: 71 percent contaminated

Antibiotic-resistant germs were found in Lidl's own-brand chicken.
Antibiotic-resistant germs were found in Lidl’s own-brand chicken. © picture alliance / dpa

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A new meat scandal threatens the discounter Lidl. Chicken meat from the Lidl own brand “Metzgerfrisch” was examined. Multi-resistant germs, which can also be dangerous for humans, were detected in 71 percent of the samples. Some dangerous pathogens were also found on many of the pieces of meat. The germs are due to poor housing conditions in Lidl’s chicken mast.

Now the Albert Schweitzer Foundation and 15 other animal welfare organizations are calling on Lidl to implement the standards of the European Chicken Initiative in order to improve the living conditions of the chickens.

A total of 51 samples of chicken meat products (all husbandry type level 2 “Barn Plus”) were examined. In January and February 2023, samples were taken in eight randomly selected Lidl stores across Germany. Only six of the samples were unremarkable. RTL first reported the results from the laboratory.

The enzyme ESBL was detected in 71 percent of the chicken meat samples. This makes the bacteria found on the meat immune to several common antibiotics. Resistant bacteria can trigger various diseases, for example urinary tract or gastrointestinal infections and even sepsis. The laboratory also found pathogens such as enterococci (25 percent of samples), campylobacter (18 percent of samples) and salmonella (1 sample). Enterococci can lead to urinary tract infections, endocarditis or blood poisoning.

Lidl chicken meat with multi-resistant germs: dangerous for people

In Germany, there are 45,700 deaths a year that are related to resistant germs and a further 9,650 that are directly attributable to them. However, antibiotic-resistant germs do not immediately make a healthy person sick. However, in people with a weakened immune system or those who take antibiotics, resistant germs can spread more quickly and lead to infections that are difficult to treat. The chances of survival are then lower in an emergency. In addition, treatments and surgeries in modern medicine are made more difficult by resistance to antibiotics.

Dangerous germs in Lidl chicken meat: the group expresses itself

The group said to RTL: “All items are subject to extensive quality controls along the entire supply chain. With our specially defined Lidl internal limit values, we are usually even stricter than the legal requirements.

Mahi Klosterhalfen, President of the Albert Schweizer Foundation, explains the scandal: “As you can see, the conditions in the stables of the Lidl suppliers not only mean a lot of misery for the animals, but are also dangerous for us humans.” that Lidl is finally getting down to improving animal husbandry and joining the European broiler chicken initiative.

Lidl chicken meat: Poor conditions in animal husbandry

The high germ load in the meat is due to the poor housing conditions in Lidl’s chicken farm. The animal protection organizations around the Albert Schweitzer Foundation had published several in Germany, Spain, Italy and Austria in the past few months.

The videos from the chicken fattening show frightening conditions: You can see weakened and sick animals from torture and poor housing conditions, thousands of them living in halls. Diseases spread quickly in fattening and the need for antibiotics increases. Ultimately, antibiotic-resistant germs develop as a result of the administration of antibiotics.


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