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Research Means Hope for Chicken Farmers

We all know or should know that many chickens contain either Salmonella or Campylobacter or both and that these bacteria can cause disease.   Every couple of years Consumer Reports tests chickens.


For its latest tests, Consumer Reports went out and purchased 382 chickens from more than 100 retail stores located in 22 states.  The results are never good for the chicken industry.


Chickens sold under big brands like Tyson and Foster Farms tested positive for one or both of the bacteria about 80 percent of the time.  Perdue did best with 44 percent of its birds found contaminated.


Up until now, the best the National Chicken Council could do was to educate consumers.   Microorganisms on fresh food are normal.  People should learn how to handle and cook chicken safety.


Now, however, the National Chicken Council might soon enjoy a new weapon against the whipping it gets every couple of years in the media from Consumer Reports.


Irish researchers at the University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin have made a scientific breakthrough that could lead to raising Campylobacter-free chickens.


The University College/Trinity team has found the genes in chickens that can boost immunity.


Irish chickens are said to be very strong birds with a diverse genetic heritage from migration.  Led by the Comparative Immunity Group at Trinity, researchers have found chickens have sufficient genetic diversity to allow them to fight a whole variety of infections.


The groundbreaking research suggests that by triggering the right gene in chickens the birds could resist Campylobacter, meaning Consumer Reports will have to come up with something else to do.


The Meat Trade News Daily reported on the Irish research.

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