Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Maryland’s Attorney General “Provably Wrong” About Safety of Chicken, NCC Says

June 30, 2009

The Attorney General of Maryland, Douglas Gansler (D), has written an opinion article in The Washington Post stating that chicken is “laced with arsenic.” Mr. Gansler is wrong: absolutely, provably wrong.

If Mr. Gansler were actually to read up on this subject, rather than take his lead from various activists, he would study the findings of the federal agency charged with monitoring the presence of arsenic and other substances in certain foods.

Arsenic is a naturally occurring element that is widely found. As the World Health Organization puts it: “Arsenic is ubiquitous, found in air, water, fuels, and marine life. The daily human intake of arsenic contained in food is in the range 0.5–1 milligrams.” Because trace amounts of arsenic occur widely, the Food & Drug Administration sets a tolerance level in foods. For chicken, that level is 0.5 parts per million.

“The truth is that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety & Inspection Service samples chicken among many other food for residues of arsenic and many other chemical compounds. The sampling for 2007 showed exactly zero violations among the chickens sampled. Zero,” NCC President George Watts wrote in a letter to the Washington Post.

FSIS also reports findings that do not violate the tolerance level. Some of the samples of chicken livers had findings of arsenic above the level of detection but below the tolerance level. This is because elements such as arsenic tend to “bioaccumulate” in the liver. You would have to eat an enormous amount of chopped liver before you would come close to having a problem, even on a theoretical basis.

As for chicken meat, which is what people normally eat, the agency found no samples with any arsenic at all. This shows that any arsenic present was so insignificant that it was below the level of laboratory detection.

It also shows that chicken is not “laced” with arsenic, whatever Mr. Gansler might think.

Animal health products that include arsenic as one of their chemical building blocks are used in some chicken flocks by some poultry companies. These products are effective in preventing coccidiosis in chickens, which is an infection by microscopic parasites. The use of these products is regulated by FDA.

These products are used to keep the chickens healthy, and a withdrawal period is observed to ensure that these products are not present when the chickens are processed for food. The fact that zero violations were found is proof that the prescribed withdrawal period is observed.

Mr. Gansler claims to have signed up a number of the other state attorneys general in his quest to ban the use of safe, effective products in poultry production. His colleagues might want to look at the facts and take their cue from the experts rather than from an uninformed politician.

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


Lampkin Butts Named General Chairman of 48th National Chicken Cooking Contest

February 9, 2009

nccc-standard-logoLampkin Butts, President and Chief Operating Officer of Sanderson Farms, Inc., Laurel, Mississippi, has been named General Chairman of the 48th National Chicken Cooking Contest (NCCC) by Michael Roberts, Chairman of the National Chicken Council, which sponsors the contest.

“The NCCC is one of the top competitive cooking events in the country,” said Roberts, who is President of the Food Products Business at Perdue Farms, Inc., Salisbury, Maryland. “Under Lampkin’s leadership, we will continue our tradition of a top-quality cooking competition that helps uncover some of the key trends in consumer cookery today.”

The NCCC cook-off will be held on May 2, 2009, at the Culinary Institute of America campus in San Antonio, Texas. Nine regional winners from around the country will compete for a grand prize of $50,000 and a “judge’s choice” award of $10,000. Each contestant also receives $1,000 as a regional winner.

The Texas Poultry Federation will serve as the host committee and provide volunteers to assist with the cookoff and host the contestants. The headquarters hotel for the event is the Omni La Mansión del Rio on the Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio.

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

Chicken Wings Are Hot Items As Football Finale Nears

January 22, 2009

Whether you are rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL championship on February 1, chances are you will be within reach of a platter of delectable, golden-brown chicken wings.  The National Chicken Council estimates that more than one billion wing portions will be served during the last football wisland-chicken-wingseekend.


As popular as wings are during the “big game,” the weekend actually accounts for less than five percent of annual demand.  About 24 billion wing segments will be marketed this year, and that doesn’t count the wings that stay on chickens sold whole, breast portions with wings, or whole chickens cut up.  


The tasty appetizer is popular throughout the year at sports bars and family eateries alike, not to mention carryout shops and supermarket delicatessens. The majority of wings are sold through foodservice channels – that is, restaurants of all types.  These account for 8.5 billion wings (1.8 billion pounds).  Another 3.5 billion wings (750 million pounds), most of them ready to cook rather than already cooked, will be sold in retail grocery stores.



Tasty recipes for home preparation of chicken wings can be found at 


By some accounts, prices are higher than a year ago.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture cites an average retail price of $1.93 per pound for ready-to-cook chicken wings featured in grocery circulars, up from $1.52 a year ago.  Prices always go up during the run-up to the football spectacular, but this year’s higher prices may be related to industry-wide production cutbacks due to high feed costs and general economic stress.


Wings have always been popular for frying, particularly in the South.  The “Buffalo wing” phenomenon of wings cooked in hot sauce was born in the North, however, at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, in 1964.  Co-owner Teressa Bellissimo cooked leftover wings in hot sauce as a late-night snack for her son and his friends.  The boys liked them so much that the Bellissimos put them on the menu the next day.


Served with celery slices and bleu cheese sauce, “Buffalo Wings” were an instant hit.  Dick Winger, who sold hot sauce to the bar, went on the road with Dominic Bellissimo, the owners’ son, to promote the item and sell hot sauce.  Buffalo wings gradually caught on with restaurant operators around the country.  The concept hit the big time in 1990, when McDonald’s began selling Mighty Wings at some of its restaurants.  KFC rolled out Hot Wings a year later, and Domino’s Pizza introduced its own wings in 1994 with a memorable advertising campaign showing flying bison.  


Chicken wings have gone on and off the menus of quick-service restaurants, but have become entrenched on the menus of casual dining establishments across the country.  Nearly every casual dining concept has wings on the menu, and at least two dozen national or regional restaurant chains specialize in chicken wings. 


Several chicken companies make chicken wings, in a dizzying variety of flavors and styles, for sale to foodservice outlets.  They are usually shipped fully cooked and frozen and are prepared for the customer in a fryer.  Increasingly, ready-to-eat or heat-and-eat wings are showing up in the delicatessen and prepared-foods section of supermarkets.  These are the same products that are sold to bars and restaurants.