Organic Consumers Association

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Cook Organic not the Planet Campaign

Study: Organic Chicken Carries Significantly Lower Salmonella Risk

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

This study from the University of Georgia's Center for Food Safety came out in November and has bounced around the internet, but for some reason I'm just now noticing it. It's worth a look.

The researchers looked at broilers -- chickens raised for meat -- from "three organic and four conventional broiler farms from the same company in North Carolina," and tested their manure for salmonella. They also tested samples of their feed.

Here's what they found: 38.8 percent of the conventional birds were carrying salmonella, versus 5.6 percent for the organic birds. As for feed, 27.5 percent of the conventional feed samples were carrying the pathogen, versus 5 percent of the organic. Recall that in the vast salmonella-egg recall of last year, authorities homed in on tainted feed as the likely source of contamination.

Now for the creepy part: 39.7 percent of the salmonella found in the conventional birds had resistance to no fewer than six different antibiotics. None of the salmonella from the organic birds showed antibiotic resistance. 

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