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Poultry Industry Body Responds to Food Safety Report

23 December 2013

US - The National Chicken Council agrees with one point in a recent publication from 'Consumer Reports' - that we all play an important role in ensuring food safety for our families, from the farm to the table.

Americans eat about 160 million servings of chicken every single day, and 99.99 per cent of those servings are consumed safely. Unfortunately, this particular statistic was left out of the 'in-depth' piece recently published by Consumer Reports, according to the US National Chicken Council.

The Council says US chicken producers rely upon the best science, microbiology and technology to reduce food-borne pathogens, and spend tens of millions of dollars every year in the name of food-safety research which can be credited with the significant decrease in foodborne pathogens present in chicken over the last several years.

"The belief that affordable food means it is lower in quality or compromised in some way stands in stark contrast to the hard work and efforts of American agriculture, USDA and the hundreds of thousands of US farmers and food producers who work tirelessly to produce a quality protein that is the envy of the world and enjoyed by millions of Americans," said National Chicken Council President Mike Brown.

From 2001 to 2010 — the latest 10-year period for which data are available — outbreaks related to E. coli, Salmonella and other pathogens decreased by more than 40 per cent. In the past five years, Salmonella in chickens has decreased by 55 per cent.

"Eliminating bacteria entirely is always the goal," Mr Brown added. "But in reality, it’s simply not feasible."

Any raw agricultural product, including fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and poultry, is susceptible to naturally occurring bacteria. Whether it’s labelled "organic", "natural", purchased in the grocery store or at your local farmers’ market, there is the potential that fresh food could make us sick, if improperly handled or cooked.

Which is why the National Chicken Council agrees with Consumer Reports on one point — we all play an important role in ensuring food safety for our families, from the farm to the table.

"No legislation or regulation can keep bacteria from existing," Mr Brown added. "The only way to ensure our food is safe 100 per cent of the time is by following science-based procedures when raising/growing, handling and cooking it. Right now, we’re at 99.9 per cent but we’re going to keep working to reach 100.

"We take the safety of our chicken very seriously," said Mr Brown. "After all, our families are eating the same chicken as you and yours."

ThePoultrySite News Desk

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