Abstract Food safety and shelf-life are both important microbial concerns in relation to broiler meat production. Focus is mainly placed on the absence or control of potentially pathogenic microbes such as Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. but, from the commercial point of view, other spoilage bacteria also play a role as potential threats. Regarding food safety, the primary target should be the production of pathogen-free live animals, thus allowing slaughter plants to keep the processing line free of those microorganisms. Consumers believe that quality of foods from organic production is superior to foods from conventional production. The aim of the present study was to evaluate and compare the bacterial quality of chicken meat from organic and conventional production on the basis of traditional meat quality criteria. Fresh free grazing broiler carcasses were purchased directly from rural households ( n = 80) and fresh retail chicken parts from conventional broiler carcasses from the local supermarkets in the region of Epirus (Poultry Producers Association. Arta) ( n = 200). The samples were microbiologically tested for the presence of bacteria such as: Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacteriaceae, Escherichia coli, Campylobacter spp., and C. perfringens. Total count of aerobic mesophilic bacteria was also determined. Bacteriological tests were performed by means of standard methods of isolation and identification of individual species of bacteria according to ISO requirements. API-tests (bioMerieux) and Vitek 2 Identification System (bioMerieux) were used for biochemical determination. High levels of microbial contamination and occurrence of pathogenic bacteria at then fresh free grazing broiler carcasses reflect the poor hygienic quality of the slaughter conditions in the rural households.