1st February, 2003
Last month the Food Standards Agency declared that eating organic chickens increases risk of campylobacter poisoning. So what?
A bacteria commonly carried in the gut of birds where it does no harm. An infectious strain, c. jejuni, can cause food poisoning in humans, but being fragile and heat sensitive it is effectively killed by proper cooking.
Research conducted by Professor John Humphrey, a scientist sponsored by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), revealed that organic free-range chickens are twice as likely to carry the campylobacter bacteria as battery-reared hens. These bacteria can cause campylobacteriosis, a form of food poisoning in humans that can lead to diarrhoea, abdominal pain and fever and, very rarely paralysis. Preliminary results were released at an FSA public meeting on organic food on 6 November 2002. Testing 60 organic and 130 conventional flocks, the study found that the bacteria were present in all of the former but only 58 per cent of the latter.
Organics and the Food Standards Agency
• The Food Standards Agency, which sponsored the research, has a history of policies that are anti-organic food and are championed by its...
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