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.

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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Consumer Reports finds low incidence of Salmonella in ground turkey

The magazine most noted for its product reviews, Consumer Reports, conducted a nationwide sampling of ground turkey at retail and cultured the samples, testing them for the presence of Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli, Enterococcus and Staphylococcus aureus. After isolating these organisms, they were tested for antibiotic resistance following the government’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System.
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Beef slaughter plant undercover prose turns out to be kind of boring

When I heard that a writer had taken a job as a U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service line inspector at a Cargill beef slaughter facility for two months and then written a lengthy expose about his experiences, I was intrigued. I looked up the May 2013 issue of Harper’s Magazine online, and I hit the dreaded pay wall. Since I write a blog as part of my job, I figured the $19.97 one year subscription cost would qualify as a business expense, so I got out my credit card. As a public service, I would like to recommend that you save the $19.97 and not bother subscribing to Harper’s to read, The Way of All Flesh: Undercover in an industrial slaughterhouse, by Ted Conover.
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Salmonella contamination of poultry parts—outside-in or inside-out?

For the most part, U.S. broiler and turkey processors have done a good job of reducing the percentage of Salmonella-positive carcasses found in post chill checks. Processors have employed various chemical sprays, rinses and dips along with treatment of the water in the chillers to rinse off, damage or kill enough Salmonella cells to stay in front of the performance standards established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service. Poultry processors have shown significant reductions in Salmonella tests since the post-chill carcass performance standards were first established.
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