Free Range Campylobacter
June 10, 2007 7:35 PM   Subscribe

Organic chickens more likely to make you seriously ill. Of course, just thinking about the conditions factory-raised chickens live in can make you ill as well, but Campylobacter can kill you.
posted by Kickstart70 (40 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I hate to tell the authors of this article, but any meat you buy in a supermarket is most definitely factory farmed. The organic ones have been fed organic feed and not given drugs, otherwise their treatment is the same. To get the kind of chickens that roam free in the fields you pretty much have to go to the farmer's market, and I would (and have) bet my health they they are less, not more, likely to be diseased.
posted by cali at 7:40 PM on June 10, 2007

Unless you're eating chicken sushi, you'll be fine.
posted by stavrogin at 7:41 PM on June 10, 2007

{ spits out mouthful of chicken sushi }
posted by jiiota at 7:45 PM on June 10, 2007 [8 favorites]

Hey, did you hear: some guy in a diner killed the entire Soprano family!!!

I think the chicken had been ordered to their table following the onion rings.
posted by item at 7:49 PM on June 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

posted by wuwei at 7:49 PM on June 10, 2007

This corresponds nicely with the hundreds dying from this "superbug" that I've heard so much about.

Oh wai-
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:53 PM on June 10, 2007

Isn't the Daily Mail a bullshit murdoch rag? One of the sidebar items said:
It sounds almost unbelievable, but a leading US dermatologist claims that ditching sugar will make you look ten years younger - in just ten days
I think it might be a good idea to take whats written here a grain of salt. And besides, it would at most only apply to UK chickens.
posted by delmoi at 7:58 PM on June 10, 2007

Campy Lobacter? Yeah, I knew him. He'll fuck you up.
posted by tepidmonkey at 7:58 PM on June 10, 2007

wtf, item?
posted by dobbs at 7:58 PM on June 10, 2007

Researchers looked at the bugs carried on the carcasses of 46 supermarket organic chickens and found that 89 per cent had campylobacter.

That is higher than the figure of 70 per cent that Government figures show is found in factory farmed chickens,

This is an absurdly written article. First, checking 46 supermarket chickens (chosen how? what distribution?) and comparing the results to overall government figures for battery chickens isn't, on the face of it, a statistically valid comparison. And second, even if it was, a 70 percent infection rate is not appreciably better than an 89 percent rate from a public health perspective.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:59 PM on June 10, 2007

item, if that's true, I fucking hate you.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:00 PM on June 10, 2007

posted by piron33 at 8:00 PM on June 10, 2007

Oh please, isn't the Daily Mail the NY Post of England? A panic rag for conservatives and the the semi-retarded. Pardon the redundancy.
posted by any major dude at 8:04 PM on June 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


item is making a joke w/r/t poison chicken. It's not anything to do with the Sopranos-- in fact I think that his version is probably better than what actually happens.
posted by exlotuseater at 8:05 PM on June 10, 2007

Turns out Tony Soprano kills Hermione!!!!

He poisons her food with Fancy LOLbacter!
posted by delmoi at 8:05 PM on June 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

I've had the bug in question. Not a lot of fun, but I fortunately wasn't permanently affected like a few folks are.
posted by maxwelton at 8:09 PM on June 10, 2007

I am SO glad I am not a chicken.
posted by longsleeves at 8:12 PM on June 10, 2007

And of course this research, such as it is (as George_Spiggott points out, the methodology is deficient on several levels) doesn't say anything about how likely organic chicken is to make people seriously ill. That would require an epidemiological study of the actual causes of actual cases of illness. Campylobacter is extremely common, and it is not particularly fatal. Poor headline, poor post, poor article.
posted by nanojath at 8:24 PM on June 10, 2007

I think it might be a good idea to take whats written here a grain of salt.

I don't know, is salt good for us or bad for us this week?
posted by scottreynen at 8:25 PM on June 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

Obligatory Daily Mail headline generator. Never miss a chance for a good old moral panic, facts be damned.
posted by Abiezer at 8:31 PM on June 10, 2007

OK, I don't hate item then. Whew.

Is it Vietnam where chicken is served rare because their chickens don't carry certain bacteria? I believe I read that once.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:32 PM on June 10, 2007

The Daily Mail, above all else, is scientifically illiterate. I don't trust them to adequately describe a study that finds water is wet.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:03 PM on June 10, 2007

So... organic chicken needs to be cooked the same way that factory chicken does in order to be safe.

Yeah, that sure falls under "damning" in my book, too.
posted by kavasa at 9:42 PM on June 10, 2007 [2 favorites]

no kidding, kavasa
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 9:43 PM on June 10, 2007

How's campylobacter compared to salmonella, in terms of misery? I had salmonella a few years ago, and now I don't ignore the warnings about washing your hands after handling reptiles anymore.
posted by infinitywaltz at 9:43 PM on June 10, 2007

Wikipedia on Campylobacter: Poultry infections were treated by enrofloxacin and sarafloxacin, many times by mass administration to flocks for single instances of infection. According to the FDA study banning this practice, this generally did not eliminate all Campylobacter bacteria, and promoted populations of bacteria resistant to fluoroquinolone drugs (like the human drug ciprofloxacin).

It's really great that farmers of non-organic poultry have done their part to eliminate breed resistant strains of campylobacter. Where would we be without these breakthroughs in genetic engineering?
posted by oneirodynia at 10:35 PM on June 10, 2007

Bah! Or what George_Spiggott sed.

Even if this was true (as in widely applicable) there's a huge difference in taste and texture between factory chicken and semi-factory chicken (I don't mind Lilydale chicken; I've never found pre-butchering/death broken bones in Lilydale chicken parts and their chicken is consistently more flavourful and have better texture).

Even so, I'll occasionally splurge and get locally produced free-range chicken from the local Chinese/Asian supermarket - unlike factory chickens these don't have fatty deposits (which sounds like a biologically awful idea for a "theoretically" flight-capable animal) and the texture of the flesh is closer to muscle than reconstituted cardboard).

I bet that the vast majority of North Americans/Western Europeans don't know what chicken actually tastes like.

I *hate* the phrase "tastes like chicken" - gah. "Tastes like factory chicken..." FINE. No problemo.

Real chicken tastes like chicken.
posted by porpoise at 11:06 PM on June 10, 2007

Is it just me or does "campylobacter" sound like a Sandler movie?
posted by katillathehun at 11:07 PM on June 10, 2007

So... organic chicken needs to be cooked the same way that factory chicken does in order to be safe.

Exactly. All chicken has such a high probability of having salmonella that it has to be handled appropriately. The presence of campylobacter in the chicken doesn't alter this. Hell, the chooks could have the fucking ebola virus in it, and it would still be safe to eat provided it's cooked properly.

What a dumb media beat up.
posted by kisch mokusch at 11:53 PM on June 10, 2007

A post with links to two Daily Mail articles? Why?
posted by MrMustard at 2:08 AM on June 11, 2007


is this a joke???
posted by zouhair at 3:40 AM on June 11, 2007

WTF is this jounal anyway???

seems like some shity one

bad post sir
posted by zouhair at 3:42 AM on June 11, 2007

The Daily Mail is a truth-free zone. They love scaring people - women in particular. We used to joke their dream headline would be "SEX CANCER DEATH SHOES!" Then we saw, one Sunday, for real - "SEX CANCER BOMBSHELL". The story? A tiny blip in cervical cancer detection rates.

They lie. Don't even post 'em, I say.
posted by tiny crocodile at 4:05 AM on June 11, 2007

So is it now a good thing when your goose is cooked?
posted by srboisvert at 6:25 AM on June 11, 2007

How's campylobacter compared to salmonella, in terms of misery?
posted by infinitywaltz

Having never had salmonella, I really couldn't compare the two except to say that campylobacter (which I contracted back in the 80's) put me in the hospital for over a week shitting blood. It was the only time that I was so dehydrated that I halucinated. I was pretty miserable.
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:47 AM on June 11, 2007


I have to echo leftcoastbob, up there. Never had salmonella, but I have had campylobacter. I, too, was hospitalized for a week with extreme dehydration, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. I had to be hydrated intravenously. It was f'n nasty. I can't imagine salmonella possibly being any worse than that.

Worse still, was that the docs told me it had a tendency to linger in your system for a fairly long time after you were better. Hypothetically, you could have a relapse months down the road. I don't know how likely this is vs. how hypothetical, but I'm thankful to have only had one bout.

For the record, you can get campylobacter from a lot of sources besides chicken. Mine was determined to have most likely been from bad cabbage in an egg roll.
posted by kaseijin at 7:01 AM on June 11, 2007

tiny crocodile is right. They also hate minorities (especially blacks), immigrant workers (especially Poles), and anything that doesn't support a viewpoint most suited to Conservative women 40-70.

Even the majority of Conservative women 40-70 can't stand the Daily Mail, though.
posted by watsondog at 7:44 AM on June 11, 2007

I hate to tell the authors of this article, but any meat you buy in a supermarket is most definitely factory farmed.

I'm no supporter of organic farming, but this is not, I think, true. Not in the UK at any rate. I'm sure I could find a chicken farmed to Soil Association standards in a supermarket here, and from reading that I'm pretty sure you couldn't call it factory farmed.
posted by edd at 8:09 AM on June 11, 2007

Sounds like bad and worse. Chickens of the world unite!
posted by priyatam at 10:09 AM on June 11, 2007

no more raw british chicken for me.
posted by ericbop at 12:26 PM on June 11, 2007

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