Poultry firms seek federal pull

DELAWARE - Poultry means big business in Sussex County, and major chicken producers are looking for more federal help in restoring consumer confidence that America's product - Delmarva's in particular - is safe to eat.

Amid worldwide avian influenza fear and a decline in consumer demand for chicken abroad, Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., sampled hands-on testing for bird flu at an Allen's Hatchery farm, pledging to free up federal allocations to support the voluntary testing program adopted by large poultry companies.

"The state of Delaware enjoys a diverse economy. We build cars ... we make chemicals ... we have a lot of credit card banks ... a lot of corporations ... a lot of tourism," said Sen. Carper. "But for the longest time, agriculture has been the underpinning of our economy, especially in southern Delaware.

And when we talk about an agriculture economy in southern Delaware, we're talking about chickens. It's important for us that the consumers here in this country and abroad feel safe when they eat our chicken."

Sen. Carper's stop in Seaford featured a visit to the Atlanta Farm, a poultry farm owned by Allen's Hatchery and one of the estimated 500 in the Allen's chain.

According to veterinarian Tom Holder of Allen's Hatchery, the voluntary testing program hatched by the National Chicken Council involves saliva swab testing of a percentage of all flocks for avian flu 14 days before they got to market.

Source: NewsZap
calendar icon 20 January 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
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