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Epidemiol Infect. 2009 Sep;137(9):1217-32. doi: 10.1017/S0950268809002635. Epub 2009 Apr 20.

Comparison of the prevalence of bacterial enteropathogens, potentially zoonotic bacteria and bacterial resistance to antimicrobials in organic and conventional poultry, swine and beef production: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.


The prevalences of zoonotic and potentially zoonotic bacteria or bacteria resistant to antimicrobials in organic and conventional poultry, swine and beef production were compared using systematic review and meta-analysis methodology. Thirty-eight articles were included in the review. The prevalence of Campylobacter was higher in organic broiler chickens at slaughter, but no difference in prevalence was observed in retail chicken. Campylobacter isolates from conventional retail chicken were more likely to be ciprofloxacin-resistant (odds ratio 9.62, 95% confidence interval 5.67-16.35). Bacteria isolated from conventional animal production exhibited a higher prevalence of resistance to antimicrobials; however, the recovery of some resistant strains was also identified in organic animal production, where there is an apparent reduced antimicrobial selection pressure. Limited or inconsistent research was identified in studies examining the prevalence of zoonotic and potentially zoonotic bacteria in other food-animal species. There is a need for further research of sufficient quality in this area.

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