US - Koch Foods has stressed that it strictly adheres to USDA regulations and animal welfare guidelines from the National Chicken Council and has described the latest video from Mercy for Animals as "inaccurate".
Koch Foods says the latest Mercy for Animals’ video is inaccurate and includes out-of-context depictions of its chicken processing plant based in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
“The chicken processing business is a highly regulated industry with well-established industry processing procedures, and our company works hard every day to ensure our employees and contractors follow strict regulations from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and guidelines from the National Chicken Council,” said Joe Grendys, CEO of Koch Foods.
The processing procedures and guidelines are designed to ensure the chickens are processed in a humane manner. Sixteen USDA inspectors work on each production shift at the Chattanooga facility to help ensure the company produces a safe product in accordance with government regulations.
Koch Foods has operated in the poultry business for more than 25 years, and its processing plant in Chattanooga has operated for more than 15 years. Koch Foods has not provided chicken to Chick-Fil-A since April 2013.
Koch Foods trains its processing employees on animal welfare practices and the importance of operating in a precise manner. It also requires its independent contractor chicken catchers to adhere to the Animal Welfare Guidelines of the National Chicken Council.
These independent contract catchers must complete training on compliance with animal welfare guidelines, and they are regularly monitored for adherence to the guidelines.
Koch Foods is also regularly audited on its animal welfare practices by an independent auditor.
The Chattanooga facility last completed such an audit in September of this year. The auditor found no violations of animal welfare practices in the live or processing operations for the Chattanooga complex.
Mr Grendys added: “As the CEO of the company, I take these allegations very seriously as I should. The company will not stand for a violation of the important processes and standards that we have in place. Koch Foods will remain vigilant to ensure it continues to operate in a humane, clean, and safe manner.”
The video from Mercy for Animals features Sam Simon, co-creator of 'The Simpsons'. He alleges cruel treatment of birds at the farm and slaughterhouse of a supplier to Chick-Fil-A, including during rearing, catching, transportation and shackling. Many birds are not effectively stunned before killing and defeathering, according to the video, and workers say they hide food safety issues from inspectors.
To close the video, Mr Simon advocates "a humane vegan diet".ThePoultrySite News Desk
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