August 18, 2019

ASPCA Requests National Chicken Council Update Guidelines

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has sent a letter to the National Chicken Council (NCC), asking them to update guidelines for humane handling and living conditions for chickens. They say that "current unprecedented growth rates and standard living conditions of chickens not only pose serious concerns for their welfare, but may also present food safety risks." A report from May 2011 by the Humane Society of the United States found that sixteen scientific studies showed hens confined in cages had higher rates of Salmonella, the leading cause of food poisoning related deaths in the United States. A European Food Safety Authority analysis found 43% lower odds of Salmonella contamination in cage-free barns. Free-range birds had 98% lower chance of … [Read more...]

USDA Says Jury Still Out on Poultry Slaughtered in China

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has hit the panic button on poultry from China too early, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA- FSIS). Poultry slaughtered in China is not currently allowed for sale in the U.S., but if it were to receive approval it would meet U.S. food safety standards, the agency said in a rare clarification issued this weekend in response to Schumer's comments. Poultry slaughtered in China is not currently allowed for sale in the U.S. But, said Schumer on Sunday, the USDA is getting ready to approve it. In 2010, China asked the USDA to review its poultry slaughter methods. FSIS must review such requests from foreign countries. But, in this case, the agency has not finalized the audit or released preliminary results.  "If … [Read more...]

Study Finds Kosher Chickens Have More Antibiotic-Resistant E. coli

A new study published in F1000Research and funded by Northern Arizona University has found that kosher chickens contain more antibiotic-E. coli bacteria. Scientists could not explain why kosher chickens had the highest level, which organic chicken had antibiotic-resistant bacterial levels just as high as conventionally raised chickens. Only chickens that were raised without antibiotics (RWA) had lower levels of antibiotic-resistant E. coli. But they still contained antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Scientists purchased 213 samples of raw chicken from 15 locations in New York City from April through June 2012. They screened generic E. coli isolates from each sample for resistance to 12 antibiotics and did not assess virulence for each sample. Kosher chicken had the highest frequently of … [Read more...]

AMI Foundation Produces Video on Proper Thermometer Use

The American Meat Institute (AMI) Foundation has produced a new video for September's National Food Safety Education Month that shows how to properly use a thermometer to check the temperature in meat and poultry products. Research has shown that only 36% of Americans use a thermometer to make sure the meat and poultry they cook is safe. AMI Foundation Chief Scientist Dr. Betsy Booren said, "people often believe they can tell when meat or poultry is cooked by looking at the color or by touching it, but using a thermometer is the only way to truly ensure safety. It's an easy step to take when cooking that can make a significant difference." The video tells you about the recommended final internal temperature for different products. Poultry, whether whole cuts or ground, should be … [Read more...]

Gillibrand Introduces Meat and Poultry Safety Bill

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has introduced the Safe Meat and Poultry Act which aims to strengthen the country’s meat and poultry inspection system and reduce the number of foodborne illness outbreaks. Gillibrand, who is chairwoman of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Marketing and Agriculture Security, said the financial and public health toll these outbreaks have has been exacerbated by the fact that food safety legislation affecting the U.S. Department of Agriculture has not been upgraded in more than a century. One in six Americans are sickened by food poisoning each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The public health and economic cost of these illnesses is over $14 billion each year, according to the … [Read more...]

GAO Criticizes USDA Proposal to Privatize Poultry Inspection

The Government Accountability Office released an analysis yesterday of the HACCP-based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) in poultry slaughter. The USDA is using that project to justify a proposal to private poultry inspection in some plants in this country. The proposed rule, called "Modernization of Poultry Inspection" published in January 2012, would use untrained company employees to replace most FSIS inspectors on the poultry slaughter lines. The rule would also increase chicken plant line speeds to increase to 175 birds-per-minute from 140, raising questions about worker safety and food safety. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) requested the GAO report. The report evaluated USDA's examination of 20 young chicken plants and 5 young turkey plants for the HIMP proposal and found … [Read more...]

Don’t Wash That Bird! Animation Shows Spread of Contamination

Remember when we told you last year to not wash turkeys and chickens before you cook them? Washing just spreads pathogenic bacteria around the kitchen. Now there's visual proof of what happens when raw meat is rinsed under the kitchen faucet. Drexel University has launched a new campaign called "Don't Wash Your Chicken" to urge consumers to drop the habit. They  have released a video filmed with what they call "germ vision" that shows how bacteria spread onto adjacent surfaces (and you) when a chicken is rinsed under running water. Oddly, the film focuses on "minority populations", because those groups seem to be more likely to wash raw poultry before cooking. When you wash raw meat under running water, the bacteria "aerosolizes", or becomes airborne, and it can end up three feet … [Read more...]

Chilean Chicken Recall for Dioxin Expands

The recall of chicken for dioxin contamination that was imported from Chile has expanded according to the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The government of Chile notified U.S. officials that the chicken tested positive for the carcinogenic substance. As of today, 343,637 pounds of chicken may be affected and 155,595 pounds is currently being held. FSIS determined that 188,042 pounds of the chicken was distributed to federal establishments for further processing, a distributor, and retail locations in Florida, Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico. Public health officials in the U.S. conducted an analysis of the Chilean test results and have determined that the risk to consumers is negligible. But they are considered unfit for consumption and adulterated, and … [Read more...]

Research Shows Chemicals Sprayed on Chicken May Mask Salmonella in Tests

A study currently being reviewed by the USDA has found that chemicals sprayed on chickens after slaughter may mask Salmonella when the birds are being tested before distribution. The poultry industry uses antimicrobial compounds to reduce pathogens on chickens while they are being processed. If the compound is removed or inactivated after the chickens have been processed, it's classed as a processing aid; otherwise it is considered a food additive. Most antimicrobials break down on contact with food, but a new chemical does not. Cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) is a non-reactive chemical that the FDA allowed in the poultry industry in 2004 to help control pathogenic bacteria. The chemical is used in combination with post-chill interventions such as poultry deluge cabinets. But these … [Read more...]

Chickens From Farmers Markets May Have More Pathogenic Bacteria

A study conducted at Penn State has found that raw, whole chickens from farmers markets throughout that state had "significantly higher levels of bacteria that can cause foodborne illness compared to those purchased from grocery stores in the region." Out of 100 whole chickens purchased at farmers markets, 90% tested positive for Campylobacter and 28% for Salmonella. During the same time period, 28% of raw, whole, organic chickens bought at grocery stores had Campylobacter, and 20% tested positive for Salmonella. And 52% of raw, whole, non-organic, conventionally processed chickens from grocery stores had Campylobacter and 8% had Salmonella bacteria. Dr. Catherine Cutter, professor and food safety extension specialist at the University, said, "some people believe that local food is … [Read more...]

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