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Weekly Overview: Food Safety Issues in the News in the Netherlands, United States

03 April 2014

GLOBAL - This week's round-up of the news in the poultry world focuses on food safety issues - Dutch concerns over safety and in the US, the Agriculture Secretary explains that better microbiological safety is the aim of the latest change to poultry meat inspection. In the EU, there are moves to increase organic production.

A report from the Dutch Food Safety Board says that both the public and private enterprises in the meat sector must take action to improve food safety in the Netherlands.

In particular, the safety board says, the private sector needs to change its working practices.

However, it says that because the private sector lacks the self-regulating capacity and desire to organise itself, the board has called on the State Secretary for Economic Affairs and the Minister for Health, Welfare and Sport to intervene.

Also on food safety issues affecting the poultry industry, US Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack has defended the overhaul of the poultry inspection system in the United States.

Mr Vilsack did so in a hearing last week, saying: "We can not only save money, but more important, save lives."

He added that critics do not fully understand the new inspection system, and stressed that, under the new system, microbiological safety will be the focus, not cosmetic issues.

Maintaining the confidence of consumers and producers and making it easier for farmers to switch to organic production are the main objectives of a new EU Regulation on organic production and the labelling of organic products.

The aim is that organic farming remains close to its principles and objectives so that public demands in terms of environment and quality are met.

The Turkey Science and Production Conference was held near Chester in the UK at the end of last week. The first day covered a range of topics focusing mainly on the health and welfare of turkeys. The main theme on the second day was nutrition, with a further two presentations on sustainability.

Compound feed production in the European Union in 2013 is estimated at just under 154 million tonnes, a slight fall from the previous year. A further reduction is forecast for 2014 in a challenging environment for the feed and meat sectors. Poultry feed output last year bucked the trend, however, with a small increase of 0.6 per cent over 2012.

Finally, turning to bird flu news, the World Health Organization reports that, from 2003 to 24 March 2014, 664 laboratory-confirmed human cases of avian influenza A(H5N1) virus infection have been officially reported to WHO from 15 countries. Of these cases, 391 have died. In the previous month, there have been six new confirmed human cases, four in Cambodia and two in Egypt.

Laos has reported its first outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1 flu in poultry for more than five years, and Cambodia's Prime Minister has called for more action to tackle the situation in his country.

Eleven new human cases of H7N9 flu have been reported in China in the last week.

Jackie Linden

Jackie Linden

Top image via Shutterstock

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