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article imageChickens from farmers markets carry more pathogens

By Tim Sandle     Jul 15, 2013 in Food
At least that was the case in one U.S. state. A study of raw, whole chickens purchased from farmers markets throughout Pennsylvania contained significantly higher levels of bacteria.
The raw chickens purchased from a series of farmers markets throughout the state contained more bacteria capable of causing food borne illnesses when compared to chickens purchased from grocery stores.
The associated report shows that of 100 whole chickens purchased from farmers markets, 90 percent tested positive for Campylobacter and 28 percent were positive for Salmonella. In comparison, during the same period, 20 percent of raw, whole, organic chickens purchased from grocery stores were found to contain Campylobacter bacteria, and 28 percent tested positive for Salmonella.
For non-organic poultry, just eight percent of raw, whole, nonorganic, conventionally processed chickens from the grocery stores tested positive for Campylobacter.
The findings tally with a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which indicates that infections from pathogens found in poultry increased during 2012.
The bacterium Campylobacter jejuni is a major cause of food poisoning, especially from raw milk, eggs, poultry, raw beef, cake icing, and water. Symptoms include nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and headache. Salmonellosis is a term for diseases caused by different Salmonella bacteria. The types of food most at risk are meat, poultry, egg or milk products. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, headache, chills, and prostration.
The findings do not mean that the chickens from farmers markets will cause harm if cooked properly. However, given that some households do not properly cook meat, the risks from the farmers market purchased chickens are potentially greater.
The study into the bacterial load of chickens was led by Catherine Cutter, professor and food safety extension specialist in the Department of Food Science and the findings have been published in the Journal of Food Safety. The paper is titled “A Microbiological Comparison of Poultry Products Obtained from Farmers' Markets and Supermarkets in Pennsylvania.”
More about Chickens, Farmers, Farmers market, Poultry, Salmonella
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