Industry experts from both the National Chicken Council and the National Turkey Federation were present in Congress April 23 to testify during a discussion on food safety practices. The NCC said it will continue its dedication to food safety while the NTF praised the food safety system that is currently in place, according to press releases from the NCC and the NTF.

Dr. Elizabeth Krushinskie, speaking for the NCC, said the steady improvement in the poultry industry is demonstrated by data published by the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture under its food safety program known as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points.

“In reviews of the effectiveness of HACCP and the performance standards, FSIS has reported that nearly all broiler plants are complying with the salmonella performance standards and that salmonella prevalence in most product categories is lower since HACCP implementation than in baseline studies conducted before implementation,” said Krushinskie.

Dr. Michael Rybolt, NTF director of scientific and regulatory affairs, agreed in his testimony before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry, but warned that drastic changes should not be made to the program.

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“HACCP is arguably one of the most advanced, science-based food inspection programs in the world and has supported the improved safety of the meat and poultry products produced in the United States,” he said. “Any changes to the existing statute should be done with a scalpel, not an axe, to ensure that the current level of inspection is not compromised.”

Though the U.S. poultry and meat supply is the safest in the world, Rybolt said the turkey industry recognizes changes could be made to further enhance consumer protection. Rybolt concluded, “As the food safety reform debate moves to the forefront of the congressional agenda, any changes that are enacted should ensure improvements will be garnered and a measurable public health outcome is achieved.”

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