I was just reading one of my weekly health newsletters and came across a startling fact. Consumer Reports reported that organic, antibiotic-free chickens sold at supermarkets are MORE likely to contain campylobacter and salmonella! This includes the O-Organics brand at Safeway and other more expensive, organic birds sold at most grocery stores.
Unless you know exactly where your chicken comes from, most organic, antibiotic-free, free range chickens are barely a step above regular chickens. The farmers squeak by making the bare minimum changes to meet USDA Organic standards, but not much else changes. The animals are still beat up, mistreated, debeaked, stacked on top of each other and housed in the same filthy environments as all the rest. In environments like this, antibiotics are NECESSARY so the antibiotic-free birds actually get sicker than the rest. But hey... They meet USDA standards, right? *sigh* Sad, huh?
Luckily the brand that I buy was very clean. Ranger. :) I was sooo upset when Safeway switched from carrying Ranger to their O Organics brand. So upset that I spoke with the meat department manager and then quit buying my chicken there. I think Fred Meyer still sells Ranger chickens, but if not I know I can always find them at PCC, Whole Foods and even Trader Joe's. Rosie chickens are my second favorite, but they're more expensive and they're vegetarian-fed... which bugs me. Read my blog on eggs for more on that tangent.
Read this story for yourself on the Consumer Reports website.