Koch Foods has called a video of its facilities released by animal rights group Mercy for Animals inaccurate and out-of-context. The video depicts scenes filmed at its chicken processing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and a farm owned by the company.
“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.
The video specifically targets quick service restaurant chain Chick-fil-A, claiming that the chain uses products supplied by Koch Foods. Both Koch Foods and Chick-fil-A have pointed out that inaccuracy, as Koch Foods has not provided chicken to Chick-Fil-A since April 2013.
Grendys further stated 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 company stated. 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.“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,” Grendys said.