Wednesday, January 22, 2014

1282 Foxes in the Henhouse

Today,  we’re going to talk about chickens. But first the news:

--A proposed rule change would allow poultry processors to inspect their own production lines which move at 140 birds per minute. FDA inspectors now do the work.

--Consumer Reports magazine recently reported that its nationwide study of bacteria in chicken breasts found contamination in hundreds of samples, both organic and “regular.”

--The Pew Charitable Trust suggests recent salmonella outbreaks resulted largely from inadequate inspections.

Now, let’s see:  They want to replace the professionals because they’re not doing well enough with low wage workers already under the pressure of speed and repetitive stress pain and trained by their employers? And they want to raise the speed limit to 175 birds per minute.

Oh boy.  You think chicken is risky now, wait until this fabulous idea gets claws.

And who comes to the foxes’ defense.  Their union.  Bet you didn’t know foxes had a union.  They do.  It’s called the National Chicken Council which points out that salmonella outbreaks are falling not rising.

The NCC is the NRA of poultry.  Salmonella and e-coli don’t make chickens inedible, FDA inspectors do.  Well, what do you expect from those union thugs?

The website Well Fed World reports 9.5 billion chickens are killed for meat in the US each year.  The average broiler weighs about five pounds.  So that’s something around 45 billion pounds of chicken.

So maybe Consumer Reports is making a big deal out of 300 infectious chickens… a small sample.  You think anyone’s going to make a bigger study? Not on your life.

Professional chicken inspectors (!) can’t catch every bad bird at 140 a minute, how can you expect the most diligent of those minimally trained line workers to find them at 175 chickens per minute?

And where are the loyalties?  To public health or to the company that issues their poultry… eh … paltry chicks?  Uh… Checks.

The FDA says it’ll help the companies train the workers.  As in “Hello, I’m from the government, I’m here to help.”

So, the product safety types have given us all kinds of advice on cooking chicken.

The main one is counterintuitive. Don’t wash the chicken or the parts.  Momma would be confused.  She’d say you ALWAYS wash chicken to get rid of all the bad stuff.

No, says the FDA and Consumer Reports.  You cook it to the proper temperature -- they put it at 165 or 170 depending on the source -- and that kills the sickening evil spirits within.

Wear gloves.  Use a designated cutting board that you wash thoroughly.  

It used to be a felony to put an unwashed package of wings in a pot.  Now, it’s a felony not to.

Shrapnel:

--The Putin designed toilets for the Sochi Olympics don’t exactly fit his anti- gay template.  Two thrones, side by side in each stall.  And the total space is smaller than the seating area of the Smart Fortwo.

--Former Bloomberg CEO Lex Fenwick now also is former Dow Jones CEO.  He resigned.  Probably after telling the company’s real CEO how to run a newspaper.  You can’t out Murdoch Murdoch, fella, at least not in his front yard.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2014


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