Are We Surprised?
A study from the University of Georgia Center for Food Safety has confirmed what organic shoppers have known all along: organic chickens are just plain better than conventional birds. In this case, researchers found that fewer organic chickens are contaminated with salmonella than their conventional counterparts.
They examined 300 organic and 400 conventional broilers chickens (the chickens raised only for their meat) as well as their floor droppings, feed sample, and drinking water for salmonella levels.
Results show that 28.8 percent (115/400) of conventional broilers had salmonella, while only 4.3 percent (13/300) of organic broilers did.
As for the feed: 27.5 percent of the conventional feed samples were carrying the pathogen as compared to only 5 percent for organic.
Ruling The Roost
To be certified organic by the USDA, chickens must have "access to the outdoors for exercise areas, fresh air and sunlight." Additionally, organic code forbids antibiotics, other "animal drugs," or "animal slaughter byproducts" in the feed.
The researchers also found that 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.
Will these results make you choose only organic poultry?
Prevalence and Distribution of Salmonella in Organic and Conventional Broiler Poultry Farms (Liebertonline)
- Study Suggests Less Salmonella in Organic Chicken (Food Safety News)
- Study: Organic chicken carries significantly lower salmonella risk (Grist)