Poultry companies step up testing

US - With fears of bird flu mounting, U.S. poultry companies said Thursday they will test every chicken flock in the nation before slaughter.

The National Chicken Council said companies that account for more than 90 percent of the nation's production have signed up for voluntary testing and more are expected to follow.

Florida's Agriculture Department recently announced its own stepped-up mandatory testing of birds and poultry. But experts said Thursday that the latest voluntary program is designed mainly to reassure the public that the chicken they consume at home or in restaurants is perfectly safe.

"As long as it's cooked, it's really not a concern," said Dr. Kevin Sherin, director of the Orange County Health Department.

For its part, Publix Super Markets, one of the state's largest grocers, has been working with federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make sure its poultry supply remains safe.

"We take food safety seriously, and the safety of our customers is a serious matter," spokesman Dwaine Stevens said.

Restaurants in the state said they also plan to cooperate with initiatives designed to protect and inform the public.

"No price can be put on protecting the safety of Florida's consumers," Carol Dover, president and chief executive officer of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, said in a statement.

Source: orlandosentinel.com
calendar icon 6 January 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
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