Did you realize Americans eat chicken more than any other protein? Approximately 160 million servings every day! That makes it all the more important for poultry producers to ensure their products are meeting stringent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) safety standards. Food safety was the topic of this week’s blog post on Chicken Check In.

The U.S. chicken industry has such a strong safety record partly because of strict federal monitoring and inspection. Federal inspectors are present at all times when chicken processing plants are operating. This means every bird is inspected, and inspectors have the authority to stop production for food safety violations. But federal inspectors are far from the only food safety measure.

Here are a few more reasons U.S. chicken industry has an excellent food and consumer safety record:

  • Focus on controlling pathogens throughout the entire process – from primary breeders supplying breeding stock all the way to packaging and distribution of chicken products.
  • Vertical integration – industry has the ability to influence the entire process and implement practices that improve food safety.
  • Use of a multi-hurdle approach – from farm to fork.
  • Strict biosecurity procedures – impacts the rate at which pathogens get introduced to  flocks.
  • Has an arsenal of interventions at its disposal – water/feed treatment, litter treatments and management, vaccinations, pre- and probiotics, organic acids, etc.

Though chicken recalls are rare, the industry has robust trace-back and trace-forward capabilities to ensure products can be quickly identified and removed from the marketplace, if needed. The U.S. chicken industry is also prepared to perform a comprehensive root cause analysis to identify any issues that led to a recall, and to prevent future incidents.

The chicken industry pledges to continue to doing our part to ensure the food we produce is safe for consumers. We will remain committed to investing significant resources – at the hatchery, feed mill, farm and plant – to further enhance the safety profile of chicken products. To better address the food safety challenges of today and tomorrow, we support modernization, ongoing research, innovation and technology development.

We as consumers can also play a big role in ensuring the chicken we cook and eat at home is safe. By taking the following steps, you can significantly reduce any risks of foodborne illnesses:

  • Clean – Wash hands and surfaces often.
  • Separate – Don’t cross-contaminate. Use a separate cutting  board for raw chicken. Do not rinse raw poultry in the sink.
  • Cook – Cook chicken to 165º Fahrenheit.
  • Chill – Refrigerate promptly.

Safe handling and cooking instructions are printed on every package of meat and poultry sold in the U.S. To learn more about how the U.S. chicken industry is investing in the best science, research and technology to further ensure consumer food safety, check out the 2020 U.S. Broiler Chicken Industry Sustainability Report here.

 

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