UGA study finds salmonella less prevalent in organic chicken

By Joe Vanhoose
Athens Banner-Herald

Organic chicken isn’t just healthier for you – it’s also safer, according to a new University of Georgia study.

Salmonella shows up less on organic farms than it does on conventional farms, Walid Alali said. Alali, an assistant professor at UGA’s College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, visited seven farms in North Carolina – three organic and four conventional – to perform his research, which points to organic chickens as healthier birds than their conventionally-raised brethren.

“Because chickens spread salmonella horizontally, when there are fewer birds, it spreads less,” he said.

The organic chickens Alali studied came from three USDA-certified organic farms, which shouldn’t be confused with free-range farms.

The chickens on organic farms are kept in houses just like on conventional farms, except the houses are brighter and more open to give the chickens more room.

The organic chickens also are fed organically grown food like corn and soybeans that is free of animal byproduct. The organic feed rarely contains salmonella, while conventional feed is full of it, Alali said.

“The feed they eat is a big part of the equation,” he said. “They also get more sunlight, less dust – it’s a better environment.”

Read more at Athens Banner-Herald

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Also see: Some Arsenic With That Supermarket Chicken? (Mother Jones, Tom Philpott)

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