The National Chicken Council released the following statement today in response to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a pseudo-medical, vegan advocacy group, and its misleading claims about supermarket chicken.
Attributable to Ashley Peterson, Ph.D., vice president of science and technology:
“These findings, not a ‘peer reviewed’ study, are another misleading attempt by a pseudo-medical group to scare consumers in hopes of advancing their goal of a vegan society and to derail a USDA proposed rule to modernize the poultry inspection system.
“Chicken processing plants strictly adhere to USDA’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy for visible fecal material as a food safety standard. Through their Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) programs, chicken plants use a variety of measures to protect food from unintentional contamination and to reduce bacteria levels at these critical control points during the entire processing process. In fact, when a product moves through the plant, bacteria levels are reduced many hundreds of times to a fraction of what was naturally on the bird when it arrived.
“The presence of generic E. coli is not a guaranteed indicator for fecal contamination, as suggested. Most E. coli strains are completely harmless and these findings do not differentiate between those strains and the ones that can cause foodborne illness, like O157:H7. All E. coli strains are killed through proper cooking.
“It also is impossible to pinpoint the source of the E.coli as it is ubiquitous in nature, on animals and in humans.
“While we question the results of these findings and the motives of this group, their conclusion is disingenuous at best when looking at 57 questionable samples out of approximately 42 million pounds of ready-to-cook chicken products in grocery stores on any given day.”