Nearly 100 people have been reported ill, and likely many more, by two related outbreaks of salmonella that a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigation has traced back to a mail-order poultry company that USA Today identified as Mount Healthy Hatcheries of Mount Healthy. Illnesses have been reported in most states east of the Rockies.
Raising backyard chickens has become increasingly popular. Whether it's a desire for locally raised, ethically treated meat or eggs, or fear over national outbreaks of foodborne illness, like the massive 2010 egg recall, the trend in backyard gardening and homesteading, in both the country and the city, has been on the rise.
Unfortunately, raising chickens yourself doesn't eliminate your risk of foodborne illness. The CDC has identified several outbreaks of salmonella tied to backyard chickens over the last several years.
People adopting egg-laying or meat-producing chickens, or other poultry, might be surprised by this. The Daily Green opened up seven recently-published books on gardening, homesteading and other related topics. Each had information about raising chickens, but none mentioned the risk of salmonella or other foodborne illnesses.*
Here's what the CDC recommends for owners of backyard flocks:
* We checked out The Complete Idiot's Guide to Urban Homesteading, Urban Agriculture: Ideas and Designs for the New Food Revolution, Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World, The Everything Guide to Living Off the Grid: A back-to-basics manual for independent living, Minnie Rose Lovgreen's Recipe for Raising Chickens: 86-yr-old farmwoman's lively advice, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Self-Sufficient Living and Backyard Poultry Naturally. Several of these titles are charming, useful and full of good information. But none seemed to touch on the topic of salmonella, or other risks, from raising backyard chickens.
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