The Smaller the Farm, the Lower the Risk of Salmonella
While federal authorities like the FDA and USDA are repeatedly conducting armed raids on small organic farms, co-ops, and even organic community picnics under the pretext of protecting you from potentially hazardous foods, the REAL danger actually comes from large CAFO farms and massive food growers.
Last year, federal officials matched the 2010 salmonella outbreak to bacteria found in facilities and chicken feed at two major egg producing facilities in Iowa. The outbreak relaunched the debate over whether eggs from smaller, organic farms are safer. The answer appears to be an unequivocal yes.
In a 2010 Live Science interview, infectious disease specialist William Schaffner stated that the smaller the farm, the lower the likeliness of it harboring salmonella. “The general thinking is that larger chicken farms are much more difficult to keep clean, and this makes it easier to transmit Salmonella,” he said. This should be more or less obvious, once you consider the conditions that CAFO animals exist under.
The birds are often kept in cages that are stacked closely next to and on top of each other, promoting the growth and spread of harmful bacteria.
Studies have also confirmed that organic eggs are far safer than CAFO-raised eggs. In one study, more than 23 percent of farms with caged hens tested positive for salmonella, while just over 4 percent of organic flocks tested positive. The highest prevalence of salmonella occurred in the largest flocks (30,000 birds or more), which contained over four times the average level of salmonella found in smaller flocks.
About 95 percent of the eggs produced in the United States come from gigantic egg factories housing millions of hens under one roof. There are currently about 245 U.S. egg companies with flocks of 75,000 or more, and, of these 245 companies, 60 have at least 1 million laying hens, and 12 have more than 5 million!
These are the factories you want to avoid purchasing your eggs from, and since they make up the bulk of eggs sold in the United States, this means finding an alternative source. Fortunately, finding a small local farm or farmer’s market that sells eggs is usually not too difficult, even in suburban areas. If you need help finding a local source, check out some of the resources listed at the end of this article.