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Farmers’ Market Chickens Higher in Bacteria

That chicken you bought at the farmers’ market may not be as healthful as you thought.

Researchers in Pennsylvania bought 100 whole chickens from grocery stores, half of which were organic, and 100 from farmers’ markets and tested them for the presence of Salmonella and Campylobacter, two species of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. The study appeared online last month in The Journal of Food Safety.

Among the grocery store chickens, 28 percent of the organic chickens tested positive for Campylobacter and 20 percent for Salmonella, while 52 percent of the nonorganic chickens were contaminated with Campylobacter and 8 percent with Salmonella. But the chickens from farmers’ markets were the most contaminated of all: 28 percent tested positive for Salmonella and 90 percent for Campylobacter.

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