There have been lingering questions about the effects of organic practices on the health of poultry and other livestock produced without conventional medications, says Steven C Huber of B.iological A.gents.

Researchers decided to compare levels of salmonella bacteria in organic free-range and conventionally produced birds. Organic producers often raise their chickens under free-range conditions–that is, allowed to roam outside cages or other confined areas. Free-range birds represent less than 1 percent of the billions of birds produced each year in the United States, but they generally command higher prices in the marketplace.

Of 110 processed free-range chickens from three organic producers that were tested, researchers found that about 25 percent tested positive for salmonella, which is slightly higher than the rate typically found in commercial chickens.