It's not just unpasteurized milk, it's any unpasteurized drink that presents health risks
. This pasteurization thing, it has a purpose.
In other news, why the bejeezus are journalists not taught the very very basic basics of evaluating scientific studies before reporting on them?!? UGA study finds salmonella less prevalent in organic chicken: Organic chicken isn't just healthier for you - it's also safer, according to a new University of Georgia study.
Great! Yay! indisputable proof that organic is better in all ways! Except that if you read the article, you may notice that this grand study looked at only seven farms. We are not provided any information on how many chickens were involved. Already I have skepticism--not that small studies are useless, mind you, and this one may provide the impetus for a larger, more comprehensive look at some issues raised, but really? Seven farms, an unknown number of chickens, and you're trumpeting about health and safety differences?
Perhaps it would be pertinent to look at something said by Assistant Professor Walid Alali, who performed this study: "Because chickens spread salmonella horizontally, when there are fewer birds, it spreads less." I would infer from this that the organic farms had fewer hens, though that's not explicitly stated. Perhaps, then, the difference is not whether the hens are allowed to be treated with antibiotics, but instead has to do with population density? Sadly "MORE STUDY NEEDED!" is not once printed in this article.
"The organic feed rarely contains salmonella, while conventional feed is full of it, Alali said." That's interesting, and probably quite pertinent to the topic, so why aren't we given ANY more information about it at any point? What, exactly, does "full of it" mean here? I want numbers! Quantitative and qualitative analyses of feed used on all 7 farms, and the actual difference in rates and degree of salmonella contamination would be sterling, but given that this is just a small article, I'd settle for x% of organic and y% of non-organic feeds cultured positive for salmonella". I am denied even this cursory summary, however, and left to take Alali's word for it that non-organic chicken feed is "full of it".
Well. Okay, how about the title claim that organically raised birds are healthier? Not a single tidbit of information is offered in this article as to any nutritional difference in the meat or eggs of chickens raised in different situations. Not a single word, let alone a phrase or complete sentence. I begin to doubt the accuracy of the "Organic chicken isn't just healthier for you - it's also safer, according to a new University of Georgia study" statement. Did this study even frelling look at potential health effects of eating chicken from different sources? Ah, here we go: "Alali collected the chickens' feces, feed and water samples from each of the seven farms." Nope. No study whatsoever of nutritional value of meat or eggs. This headline has no bloody relevance to the study the article is supposed to be reporting! Son, I am disappoint.
I am especially disappointed as this totally unsupported claim is reinforced by the article illustration, which shows chicken legs in a frying pan, with the caption "UGA study finds salmonella less prevalent in chicken". Could you get more misleading about what the study actually studied if you tried?
But maybe I'm just being nitpicky and mean. Maybe what they really meant was that the chickens themselves are healthier, and it was just really (really) poor sentence structure? "Chickens themselves don't suffer from the infection - they're just carriers, Alali said." Oh. Well. Guess not then.
Speaking of misleading and meaningless statements, try this on for size: "The organic chickens also are fed organically grown food like corn and soybeans that is free of animal byproduct."
Are we to take from this statement that animal products are not organic? Boy, is Dr S gonna be confused by that when he goes to sell his organically raised calves this year! Then again, what does that mean in an article touting the benefits of organic chicken? Is chicken not an animal? Does this author even know what "organically grown food" means? Or what chickens are normally fed?
From the USDA's information page
: "Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides..." Well, I guess that means that "organic" and "animal byproduct" are not mutually exclusive. So how about those soybeans, then? Oh, the main difference is that they don't use "most conventional pesticides". Right. Right. Because one would absolutely expect the use of insecticides and/or herbicides to make a significant difference in potential bacterial content of food. Very logical. If these chicken farmers choose not to use animal products in their feed, that is their choice and may have points in its favor on several levels, but being "organic" ain't one of them, honey.
In summary: A small study of potential interest, which raises questions for further study. Follow-ups may include whether these findings are consistent across a larger population of farms and/or farms in different areas. Whether size of farm/chicken population density is strongly correlated with incidence of salmonella. Whether a meat-free diet would be better for chickens. Whether there is a significant difference in bacterial contamination of chicken feeds from different sources, and whether organically grown ingredients processed into chicken food do or do not produce a chicken feed with lower bacterial contamination than chicken feed made from "conventional" ingredients. And whether journalists can be trained to write articles which actually pertain to and accurately relate the findings of scientific studies.
ETA: And why the bloody bejeezus is there no link to source material?! Yeah, the majority of readers are not going to bother reading the actual study results, but some of us would, and if you're reporting accurately, it can only help prove your point.