Archive for March, 2011

Chicken Industry’s “Tremendous” Food Safety Efforts Will Continue, NCC Advisor Says

March 16, 2011

WASHINGTON – March 16, 2011 — The chicken industry will continue its “tremendous efforts” to meet the challenge of food safety, an advisor to the National Chicken Council said today as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety & Inspection Service announced that it will change microbiological standards that have been in effect since 1998. The standards address Salmonella and Campylobacter prevalence on raw chickens, or the percentages of raw chickens being processed in a particular plant that have Salmonella or Campylobacter on them to any detectable degree.

“Industry has already done an outstanding job of improving the microbiological profile of raw products and will strive to do even better,” said Dr. Scott M. Russell, a microbiologist and professor of poultry processing at the University of Georgia and science advisor to NCC. “I personally have witnessed and been part of the tremendous efforts the industry has made to meet the challenge of ensuring food safety, and I know these efforts will continue.”

USDA has monitored poultry plants for Salmonella since the 1990s. In the most recently published reports, for the third quarter of 2010, an average of 7.4 percent of chicken carcasses at processing plants nationwide tested positive for detectable levels of Salmonella. The actual experience in processing plants is believed to be somewhat lower since the government tends to conduct more sampling in plants with higher Salmonella results. The new USDA performance standard is 7.5 percent.

The FSIS notice adopts a Campylobacter standard for the first time. The new standard is that no more than 10.4 percent of raw chickens sampled should have Campylobacter jejuni, C lari, and/or C. coli on them. The samples will be taken at the same time as the Salmonella samples are collected.

“For consumers, the bottom line is that chicken is safe when properly cooked and handled, and that the chicken producers and processors are continually working to make them safer.” Dr. Russell added. “Instructions for safe handling and cooking are printed on every package of meat and poultry sold in the United States.” Additional food safety information is available from sources such as http://www.fightbac.org and http://www.befoodsafe.gov

The National Chicken Council represents integrated chicken producer-processors, the companies that produce and process chickens. Member companies of NCC account for more than 95 percent of the chicken sold in the United States.

Poultry Groups Hail Appeals Court Decision on Permits

March 15, 2011

March 15, 2011 — The National Chicken Council and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association hailed today’s decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wiping out an “onerous and unnecessary” regulation imposed on poultry farms by the Environmental Protection Agency as a “victory for common sense.”

“America’s poultry farmers are good stewards of the land,” NCC and USPOULTRY said in a statement. “EPA’s requirement that farms had to apply for a discharge permit, even though no discharge occurs, was an onerous and unnecessary bureaucratic invention. Getting rid of it is a victory for common sense.”

NCC and USPOULTRY participated in a challenge filed in the court in New Orleans to overturn EPA’s policy that livestock and poultry farmers have a “duty to apply” for discharge permit. Broiler chicken farms keep animals indoors on dry litter systems and do not discharge waste. NCC and USPOULTRY argued in the brief that EPA had no authority to impose a duty to get a permit unless there is an actual discharge.

The National Chicken Council represents integrated chicken producer-processors, the companies that produce and process chickens. Member companies of NCC account for more than 95 percent of the chicken sold in the United States.

The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association is dedicated to the growth, progress, and welfare of the poultry industry and all of its individual and corporate interests. Membership includes producers and processors of broilers, turkeys, ducks, eggs and breeding stock, as well as allied companies. Formed in 1947, the association has affiliations in 26 states and member companies worldwide. The group’s mission focuses on research, education, communication, and technical assistance.

CONTACTS: NCC: Richard L. Lobb, (202) 296-2622 ext 119 rlobb@chickenusa.org
USPOULTRY: Gwen Venable, (770) 493-9401 gvenable@poultryegg.org

NCC, Other Poultry Groups Join Coalition Against Extension of Ethanol Subsidy

March 1, 2011

WASHINGTON – March 1, 2011 — The National Chicken Council, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, and several state poultry federations are among a vast coalition of 90 organizations opposing extension of the blenders’ credit that subsidizes the production of ethanol. The groups sent letters to the leaders of Congress today calling on them to let the tax credit expire on schedule at the end of 2011. The ethanol industry is lobbying Congress for an extension.

“Congress has the opportunity to end the $6 billion a year subsidy to gasoline refiners who blend corn ethanol into gasoline,” the letter said. “At a time of spiraling deficits, we do not believe Congress should continue subsidizing gasoline refiners for something that they are already required to do by the Renewable Fuels Standard.”

A coalition of 90 business associations, taxpayer advocates, hunger and development organizations, agricultural groups, free-market groups, religious organizations, environmental groups, budget hawks, and public interest organizations today sent the letter to Congressional leadership urging Congress to let the refundable Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) expire and to resist calls for spending on infrastructure for conventional biofuels.

In addition to NCC and USPOULTRY, the letter was signed by the state associations representing the poultry industry in Alabama, California, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

In the letter, the coalition says:

“The undersigned diverse group of business associations, taxpayer advocates, hunger and development organizations, agricultural groups, free-market groups, religious organizations, environmental groups, budget hawks, and public interest organizations urge you to allow the refundable Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) to sunset this year and to resist calls for spending on infrastructure for conventional biofuels.

“In particular, Congress has the opportunity to end the $6 billion a year subsidy to gasoline refiners who blend corn ethanol into gasoline. At a time of spiraling deficits, we do not believe Congress should continue subsidizing gasoline refiners for something that they are already required to do by the Renewable Fuels Standard.

“Experts like the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accountability Office have concluded that the subsidy is unnecessary, and leading economists agree that ending it would have little impact on ethanol production, prices or jobs.

“We urge you to let VEETC expire and resist calls for spending on infrastructure for conventional biofuels.”

The following organizations signed the coalition letter:

ActionAid US
Africa Action
Africa Faith and Justice
Alabama Poultry and Egg Association
Alliance of Western Milk Producers
American Bakers Association
American Conservative Union
American Frozen Food Institute
Americans for Limited Government
Americans for Prosperity
American Jewish World Service
American Meat Institute
Beyond Pesticides
California Dairies, Inc.
California Poultry Federation
California Safe Schools
Center for Auto Safety
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Food Safety
Clean Air Task Force
Clean Water Action
Citizens for Tax Justice
Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Dairy Producers of New Mexico
Dairy Producers of Utah
Environment America
Environmental Working Group
Foreign Policy in Focus
Freedom Action
FreedomWorks
Friends of the Earth
Heartland Institute
Georgia Poultry Federation
Greenpeace USA
Grocery Manufacturers Association
Idaho Dairymen’s Association
Indiana State Poultry Association
International Center for Technology Assessment
International Dairy Foods Association
John Locke Foundation
KyotoUSA
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
League of Conservation Voters
Maryknoll Office of Global Concern
Milk Producers Council
Mississippi Poultry Association
MoveOn.org
National Audubon Society
National Catholic Rural Life Conference
National Council of Chain Restaurants
National Chicken Council
National Meat Association
National Restaurant Association
National Retail Federation
National Taxpayers Union
National Turkey Federation
National Wildlife Federation
Natural Resources Defense Council
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
North Carolina Poultry Federation
Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance
Northeast Organic Farming Association — Interstate Council (NOFA-IC)
Northwest Environmental Defense Center
Northwest Dairy Association
Oil Change International
Oxfam America
Partners for the Land & Agricultural Needs of Traditional Peoples (PLANT)
The Poultry Federation
Public Citizen
Public Interest Research Group (PIRG)
Safe Climate Campaign
The SafeLawns Foundation
Sierra Club
Snack Food Association
South Carolina Poultry Federation
Southeast Milk Inc.
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Southern Horticulture
Taxpayers for Common Sense
Tennessee Poultry Association
Texas Poultry Federation
U.S. Poultry and Egg Association
Union of Concerned Scientists
Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth
Virginia Poultry Federation
Washington Cattle Feeders Association
Washington State Dairy Federation
The Watershed Partnership
World Wildlife Fund

NCC Applauds Georgia Governor’s Call for Withdrawal of GIPSA Rule

March 1, 2011

WASHINGTON – MARCH 1, 2011 – Georgia Governor Nathan Deal is right to recommend that the U.S. Department of Agriculture withdraw its proposed rule on the production and marketing of poultry and livestock because it would be “costly and disruptive” and goes beyond the intent of Congress, the National Chicken Council said today.

“Governor Deal’s comments are right on target and should be considered seriously by the Agriculture Department,” said NCC President George Watts. “The proposed rule should be withdrawn and reworked.”

In a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Deal said the rule proposed by USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) would “drastically change” the long-standing contractual relationships between poultry companies and the farmers who work with them to raise birds.

“Such a change would undoubtedly create a very costly and disruptive situation in Georgia and across the country where poultry is grown,” Deal wrote.

Deal, an attorney who served in Congress for 18 years before being elected Georgia’s governor last fall, said the GIPSA rule “goes well beyond” the intent of Congress when it directed the agency to make certain changes in its regulations as part of the 2008 Farm Bill. He said Congress had already considered the issue of what is called “competitive injury” and decided that it was being handled appropriately by the courts.

“It would be not only inappropriate but an action exceeding the Department’s regulatory authority to not honor Congress’ mandate on this issue,” Deal said. He said USDA should craft a final rule that “more closely adheres” to Congressional intent.

“Permit me to suggest that the best way to do this is to withdraw the current proposal and reissue a much more acceptable, pragmatic rule,” he wrote.

USDA is in the processing of considering the thousands of comments that were filed on the proposed rule. The agency has set no deadline for finalizing its process.

The National Chicken Council represents integrated chicken producer-processors, the companies that produce and process chickens. Member companies of NCC account for more than 95 percent of the chicken sold in the United States.