News and analysis for the global poultry industry.

Food Safety and Processing Perspective

Terrence O’Keefe, WATT’s content director, provides his perspective on everything from animal agriculture trends that impact our food chain to food-safety related issues affecting chicken and egg production. O’Keefe has covered the poultry industry as an editor for more than a decade and also brings his experience in plant management and poultry production to comment on today’s issues.

Why is the tech media so gullible about egg replacers?

Hampton Creek Foods and the famous tech billionaires who back the San Francisco-based company have done a remarkable job getting the mainstream media to listen to them. All this publicity is nice for Hampton Creek’s egg-less products, such as Beyond Eggs, Eat the Dough and Just Mayo, but you really need to look at who is writing the articles.
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Salmonella outbreak linked to Foster Farms raises questions on when to recall

The recent outbreak of human Salmonellosis cases that have been linked to consuming chicken from three Foster Farms facilities and the actions by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Foster Farms and some of Foster Farms’ customers have been difficult for some legislators, media and consumers to understand. I don’t claim to have any special knowledge of the events before and after the USDA issued a public health alert stating Foster Farms' chicken products were associated with the outbreak, but I hope I can help some people gain a better understanding of why some of the parties have taken the steps that they have.
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Will filing criminal charges against food producers make food safer?

The United States Attorney’s office in Denver, Colo., recently charged brothers Eric and Ryan Jensen, former owners and operators of Jensen Farms, with six counts each of adulteration of a food and aiding and abetting. Cantaloupes grown and packed by Jensen Farms were linked to a Listeriosis outbreak that resulted in 33 deaths and 147 illnesses. This case reminds me of the Salmonellosis outbreaks associated with table eggs in the U.S. a couple of years ago and the subsequent farm investigations.
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Animal agriculture: Working to unravel the antibiotic resistance puzzle

The food chain is a critical avenue for the introduction of antibiotic resistance through daily food consumption, said Dr. Hua H. Wang, professor, food science and microbiology, Ohio State University. Speaking at the International Association for Food Protection annual meeting, she said that, in spite of cooking, food can still be a major source of antibiotic resistance genes.
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Berman not swayed by my Egg Bill comments

Rick Berman,executive director of the Center for Consumer Freedom, has been a staunch opponent of the Humane Society of the United States and has made critical comments, both verbally and in writing, about the Egg Bill. In response to my last blog post on his comments, Mr. Berman sent me this reply in which he countered some of the points that I made.
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Food safety issues: Learning from arguing both sides

I think that one of the best ways to avoid the hubris of discounting the other side’s arguments is to be forced to assume the other side’s position and defend it. This is exactly the approach taken at the Current Controversies in Food Safety Round Table at the International Association of Food Protection’s annual convention in Charlotte, N.C., and it made for an entertaining and thought-provoking exercise.
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Egg Bill not Munich agreement and Chad Gregory not Neville Chamberlain

I have commented on the statements of Rick Berman, president of the public relations firm Berman and Company, which among other things runs Humane Watch, as recently as last month, but he made some recent assertions that require a response. In a website commentary Berman called the United Egg Producers' president, Chad Gregory, “the industry Neville Chamberlain.” Berman wrote, “Chamberlain, over the warnings of some in Parliament, met with Hitler and claimed to have secured ‘peace in our time’ with the Fuhrer—but instead was given a worthless ruse. Gregory finds himself in a comparable situation. Plenty of people told him not to trust HSUS, but he didn’t listen.”
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Passing the Egg Bill won’t hurt the rest of agriculture

Rick Berman, president of Berman and Company, a public relations firm, which among other things runs Humane Watch, gave a presentation at the World Pork Expo that cries out for a response. I am aware of the activities of Humane Watch and think that they are providing a public service, but there were some factual errors in Berman’s presentation at the Expo, and I think he reaches the wrong conclusion.
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Egg producers need to rally to pass the Egg Bill

After two days of speeches offering encouragement to United Egg Producers members to lobby their representatives and senators to support the Egg Bill, I was surprised by the seeming lack of enthusiasm in the room on the third and final day of the cooperative’s legislative board meeting in Washington, D.C. If egg producers want the Egg Bill to become law, it is up to them to step up to the plate and take a swing.
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