Editor’s note: We want to hear from our readers. Letters to the Editor can be submitted via the Contact Us link on our website.

Dear Editor,

Your article stating 100 people in 28 states have been sickened by Salmonella from backyard poultry flocks is incorrect and misleading.

The exposures you describe are from commercial hatchery operations that have nothing to do with private “backyard” flocks kept for meat or eggs. You also mention a recall of contaminated eggs. This again would have to be from a commercial egg producer or there could not be any recall from stores. I am and have been for over 30 years, the owner of “backyard” poultry. I raise my own chicks, and my eggs are safe to eat with runny yolks, sunny side up, soft boiled, etc.

Large commercial poultry operations that have always used antibiotics inappropriately are the source of salmonella contamination so widespread that the eggs are now laid with the bacteria inside from infected hens. These and other commercial livestock operations that fed low levels of antibiotics because it increased growth rates are also the source of the antibiotic resistant bacteria like MRSA that plague us today. This is the reason the government now requires a warning on egg packages that eggs should be “thoroughly” cooked before eating.

Unless you have other information that you did not include in this article, it is false and misleading.

Please take note that “cage-free” eggs are also not backyard poultry, just laying hens kept in the same overcrowded and dirty accomodations as broiler chickens. The freshest and safest eggs you can buy are from true backyard poultry. My eggs have been used regularly by a five star restaurant in dishes where the separated yolk is simply broken over pasta or meat dishes and heated very lightly, basically raw. They use my eggs for this specifically for reasons of food safety. They get their meat from another local person who raises pastured poultry for the same reason. Please do not add to the government’s constant attempts to make it illegal for citizens to raise their own food free from chemicals and diseases rampant in commercial agriculture.

— J. Sanders

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)