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Organic Poultry is Half as Likely to be Salmonella Contaminated

Shopping for chicken

In a previous post, we talked about the common bacteria known as Salmonella, and more specifically, how it could affect your chicken flock. We discussed how you can identify it in your flock and what you can do to prevent it. And while the details of that post haven’t changed, there is some new information that has come to light about the bacteria.

During a recent study published by Penn State College of Medicine, it was found that “meat from conventionally raised poultry was twice as likely to contain multidrug-resistant Salmonella compared to poultry labeled antibiotic-free or organic.” In layman’s terms, that means organic poultry is half as likely to have Salmonella contamination than its non-organically produced counterpart.

While we are strong supporters of healthy, naturally raised chickens, we also know that organic poultry farming is not for everyone. Regardless, no one wants their flock to be infected with Salmonella. In today’s post, we want to break down some of the information presented in this study to help you and other poultry businesses alike better understand how to take care of your flock.

How the Misuse of Antibiotics Can Negatively Affect Poultry

Before we get into the details, one of the most critical pieces of information to understand in this Salmonella study is that the bacteria was found in both conventional and organic poultry. However, organic poultry was much less resistant to the typical antibiotics used to treat Salmonella, making it safer and more likely not to contain the bacteria. So, why exactly does this happen? Antibiotics play a role.

Understanding Antibiotics

When you take antibiotics, you’re introducing medicine into your body that fights the germs or bacteria (like Salmonella) that are harmful to you, and it’s exactly the same with poultry.

Over time, your body and the germs can start building up an immunity to the antibiotics, and will find new ways to survive. This is what the CDC (Center for Disease Control) calls antibiotic resistance. This resistance can happen in humans and animals, which is part of why administering too many antibiotics to your flock can do more harm than good.

What Salmonella Studies Show

For this study, researchers reviewed randomly purchased chicken and turkey samples between 2008 and 2017. Research showed that 10.2% of the samples that were raised conventionally (non-organically) had Salmonella contamination. On the other hand, only 5.3% of the poultry samples that were labeled as antibiotic-free (organic) were contaminated.

Also, do you remember what we just discussed about antibiotic resistance? Well, researchers found that 55% of non-organic poultry showed resistance to three or more of the antibiotics for Salmonella. The organic poultry, on the other hand, only showed resistance in 28% of the samples.

Our Take on the Salmonella Study

It’s no secret that we are huge supporters of free-range, non-GMO, organic poultry here at Freedom Ranger. The current research on Salmonella supports our belief that chickens should be bred to do what they do best—to live naturally.

We find that maintaining healthy, clean living situations for your chickens can go a long way in reducing Salmonella infections and other harmful diseases. At Freedom Ranger, we can also vaccinate your chicks for you before you even introduce them to your flock!

The main takeaway from this Salmonella research is that organic poultry farming can pay off in the long run. Even if it may be more work to get set up, knowing you’re providing healthy birds right from the beginning will help your business do better.

If you have any questions about organic poultry farming, how to prevent Salmonella in your flock, or if you’re ready to buy a batch of healthy chicks, contact us, and we’ll be happy to help.