How to avoid salmonella contaminated eggs

Wednesday, September 01, 2010 by: Jonathan Benson

In response to the massive egg recall, some mainstream news outlets have begun addressing the real cause of food contamination: inhumane and unsanitary food production methods. A recent MSNBC article explains that organically-grown eggs from chickens who live and feed in natural pastures are healthier and safer than the caged, industrially-grown ones most people buy.

According to the report, more than 90 percent of store-bought eggs come from chickens who live in tight, filthy cages. Such conditions actually encourage the growth and spread of dangerous bacteria like salmonella. Commercial chickens regularly eat unnatural feed as well, and are typically unable to go outside and get any exercise, which greatly affects the quality and integrity of both their eggs.

“When you put four or five chickens in tiny cages, they can’t engage in normal chicken behavior — pecking in the dirt, dusting,” explained chicken expert Gail Damerow, author of Storey’s Guide to Raising Chicken, to MSNBC. “The pressure of the wire cages against their feet causes infections, their feathers rub off on the side of the cages…they can’t run around and eat flies and take dust baths.”

The end result is a whole lot of sick chickens that end up spreading disease around the entire coup, which ultimately ends up contamination the eggs and sickening the public.

Pastured chickens, on the other hand, are free to dig around for bugs, worms and forage, which increases both the vitamin and omega-3 fatty acid content of their eggs. Based on analysis, pastured eggs contain roughly twice as much vitamin E and two-and-a-half times more omega-3s than conventional, caged eggs. These free-roaming chickens are also far less prone to become contaminated with salmonella and other bacteria.

The best way to obtain safe, healthy eggs is to buy them locally from farmers who raise their chickens on pastures, and that use only organic feed. Or if you have the space, you can even buy or build a small, backyard coup to raise your own chickens.

Sources for this story include:…


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