Salmonella Prevalence in Free-Range and Certified Organic Chickens
Abstract:Many consumers assume that broiler chickens grown under traditional commercial conditions will have more Salmonella than free-range or organic chickens, which usually are less crowded, have access to outside spaces during grow out, and are fed special diets. Despite these perceptions, there is a lack of published information about the microbiological status of free-range and organic chickens. A total of 135 processed free-range chickens from four different commercial free-range chicken producers were sampled in 14 different lots for the presence of Salmonella. Overall, 9 (64%) of 14 lots and 42 (31%) of 135 of the carcasses were positive for Salmonella. No Salmonella were detected in 5 of the 14 lots, and in one lot 100% of the chickens were positive for Salmonella. An additional 53 all-natural (no meat or poultry meal or antibiotics in the feed) processed chickens from eight lots were tested; 25% of the individual chickens from 37% of these lots tested positive for Salmonella. Three lots of chickens from a single organic free-range producer were tested, and all three of the lots and 60% of the individual chickens were positive for Salmonella. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service reported that commercial chickens processed from 2000 to 2003 had a Salmonella prevalence rate of 9.1 to 12.8%. Consumers should not assume that free-range or organic conditions will have anything to do with the Salmonella status of the chicken.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, P.O. Box 5677, Athens, Georgia 30604-5677, USA
Publication date: November 1, 2005
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