PCRM Improves Pediatrics Training; Feces Warning Labels on Chicken

Chicken products may soon carry fecal contamination warning labels if the U.S. Department of Agriculture complies with a legal petition the Physicians Committee filed March 14. The petition calls on the USDA to declare feces an adulterant in poultry products and label products to warn consumers about likely contamination.

“USDA should make consumers aware that chicken often contains feces,” says Mark Kennedy, director of legal affairs with the Physicians Committee. “Contaminated chicken often passes right through inspection, is marketed as ‘wholesome,’ and lands on unsuspecting consumers’ dinner plates, feces and all.”

Kennedy also wrote to the co-chairs of the newly reorganized Congressional Chicken Caucus, Reps. Rick Crawford and Sanford Bishop, urging an immediate industry-wide shift to the petition’s proposed guidelines and labels.

Although USDA holds a zero-tolerance policy for fecal contamination, it applies to visible feces only. Consumers assume that this policy guarantees that the products they eat are not tainted with fecal matter. In practice, however, enforcement standards are lax, allowing fecal contamination as long as the feces are not touching chicken skin or visible to the naked eye. As a result, contaminated meat and poultry products pass inspection. Read more : Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

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