Several issues in the poultry world have generated headlines across the U.S. recently. They cover important industry issues related to food safety and inspection, and we felt it important to share some of the resources available to combat some of the misinformation that is being spread.
By now you’ve probably heard about a large Salmonella outbreak linked to chicken, and you may have also heard in the media that some of the strains of Salmonella found were multi-drug resistant. While it’s always a concern when people get sick from eating meat or poultry, it turns out that the strains involved in this outbreak were treatable with common antibiotics. This is consistent with the FDA’s finding in its annual meat report on the prevalence and trends of antimicrobial resistance in food-borne bacteria that the antibiotics commonly used to treat patients are still effective.
An op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle by Dr. Richard Raymond sums up the issue well. We will be releasing a new Meat Mythcrusher video soon as well that discusses the myth that superbugs are common in our meat and poultry supply.
The other issue generating media attention is the long battle over USDA’s HACCP-Based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) which is designed to modernize poultry inspection with an added focus from inspectors on food safety. The latest controversy comes from the Washington Post which highlighted inspector claims that speeding up processing lines could harm the animals. In response, the National Chicken Council noted that the data cited by the Post represents less than one hundredth of one percent of chickens processed in the U.S. each year and that HIMP won’t impact the speed of stunning.
The National Association of Federal Veterinarians has also joined the discussion in an op-ed highlighting the food safety benefits of HIMP in Food Safety News, writing,
“Our experience and 14 years of data show that the proposed system is better. USDA’s resources should be used to assess whether a plant’s food-safety system is actually doing what it’s supposed to do – testing for foodborne pathogens and analyzing data trends. In our opinion, these are things that actually make our meat and poultry safer and are a more appropriate role for a regulatory body.”
As an industry, we believe it’s important to share these resources to help combat misinformation about meat and poultry products that is so common. As you see these issues come up, we hope you will share through your own networks to spread the science on these key issues.