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  • Writer's pictureSheri

Poultry Processing Safety

Are chickens on your farm processed in a USDA facility? Is someone inspecting to ensure health/cleanliness, etc? It occurred to us that as many of our customers are coming from the city and are far removed from all of the laws and regulations surrounding farm life; and therefore it would be a good idea to share the answers to these questions.

These are fair questions that deserve an answer! First, let’s get the laws out of the way. A federal law PL90-492 allows producer/growers to dress up to 20,000 birds annually without government inspectors on site, as long as the birds are “unadulterated” and “sanitary.” These two subjective terms have been widely construed by bureaucrats.

Some states do not allow any open-air processing and some states do not allow even one bird to be processed without massive facilities being built and maintained.

There is also an exemption (Exempt P.L. 90-492) in place for smaller farms such as ours, that allows farmers raising 1,000 chickens or less to process/dress those chickens on their farm and sell to local customers. This exemption is where our farm is categorized currently.

A USDA-inspected facility is far less effective as is a customer-inspected facility.

So what about safety? Who is checking up on us?

The short answer to that is: You!

Let us submit the idea to you that a USDA-inspected facility is far less effective as a customer-inspected facility. If you visited us on a processing day and didn't like what you saw, you would certainly not come back to purchase chickens from us!

Consider this, it was a government agency that put “Twinkies” on the shelf saying they are safe for consumption. I would beg to differ on that; and about a thousand other items on our grocery store shelves these days. It was also a government agency who approved and put their seal on the lettuce that brought listeria to a large number of states recently. It was a government agency that put the 'a-ok' on feeding cattle parts to other cattle, bringing us Mad-Cow disease. It is a government agency that tells us 400ppm of glyphosate on our corn fields is “safe.”

Well, you get the idea.

Government officials also have given the go-ahead to bring in processed chicken from China, this was approved back in 2013, many of which are not even labeled as such. (See this article for details on that): )

So far, not one case of food-borne pathogens has been reported among the thousands of pastured poultry producers, many of whom have voluntarily had their birds analyzed. Routinely, these home-dressed birds, which have not been treated with chlorine to disinfect them, show numbers far below industry comparisons. These are just a few of the reasons we say that a customer-inspection is more powerful and effective than a USDA inspection.

How Our Chickens Are Processed