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Organic Poultry Far Less Prone to Salmonella than Conventional, Study Finds

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's All About Organics page, and our Food Safety page.

What chickens eat and how they are raised makes all the difference in determining their overall health and susceptibility to salmonella, according to a new study published in the journal Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. Researchers from the University of Georgia's Center for Food Safety (UGCFS) discovered that conventional chickens are nearly 700 percent more likely to develop salmonella than organic chickens, which has huge implications in food safety.

A team of five scientists from UGCFS and several other schools collected and analyzed fecal, feed, and drinking water samples from both conventional and organic birds raised on various farms owned by the same North Carolina company. For two flock cycles, the team collected the samples when birds were both three and eight weeks old, and tested them for the presence of both Salmonella and antimicrobial-resistant salmonella.

Upon analysis, the salmonella rate among conventional birds was 38.8 percent, while it was only 5.6 percent among organic birds. Conventional feed was contaminated with salmonella 27.5 percent of the time, while organic feed was contaminated only 5 percent of the time. And shockingly, nearly 40 percent of the salmonella detected in conventional birds was resistant to six different antibiotics, while not a single organic bird was found to be contaminated with antimicrobial-resistant salmonella.

 


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