Scientists at the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety have published a paper comparing the incidence of Salmonella in organic chickens compared to conventional chickens raised by the same company in the same area. The team also analyzed the antibiotic-resistance status of 70 of the Salmonella isolates. Their findings were remarkable:

• 38.8 percent of conventional birds were infected with Salmonella, while only 5.6 percent of organic birds were infected.

• 27.5 percent of conventional feed samples were contaminated with Salmonella; only 5 of organic feed samples were contaminated.

• 39.7 percent of Salmonella isolates from conventional birds were resistant to SIX antibiotics; 0 percent of isolates from organic chickens were resistant to these six.

The team’s paper is entitled “Prevalence and Distribution of Salmonella in Organic and Conventional Broiler Poultry Farms.” It appeared in the journal Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, Vol. 7, Number 11, 2010.

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