As you are likely aware, a recent NY Times article published on April 11, 2012, by Stephanie Strom, titled “48% of Chicken in Small Sample Has E. Coli” has brought into question the industry best practices for assuring the food safety of poultry in the consumers retail food supply.
Again, like “pink slime” in beef, it’s about cost and competing with another vendor based on a cheaper price.
At Bell & Evans, we hold ourselves to a much higher standard than any other poultry company, because we know our customers would expect nothing less from us.
For instance, things that are common in the industry (but not at Bell & Evans): baby chicks are started on a composting bed of manure that may be more than a year old. A year old bed includes feces from several previous flocks. The old manure is a haven for E. Coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter production. The equipment that is used to transport the chickens to the processing plant is not cleaned and sanitized between loads. Chickens are then loaded into a large chlorinated water chiller and the hope is that all this will go away!
At Bell & Evans, we believe combating E. Coli, and food safety in particular, all starts at the farm. Over the years we have developed a live operations program, and production process that is second to none!
Almost too numerous to mention in a single page letter, some of the following highlights what we commit to at Bell & Evans to assure the food safety and wholesomeness of our products to our customers:
- Barns with cement floors prevent rodents entry and spreading diseases
- A scientifically designed diet for our birds for peak health & well-being
- Rigorously test the feed and birds to insure quality & wholesomeness of each
- Athorough cleanout of all litter & complete sanitation of barns after each flock is removed
- Barns sit empty for 2-weeks prior to putting in fresh shavings and a new flock – this assures there can be no possibility of a flock-to-flock transmission of any “bug” whatsoever
- A complete and thorough cleaning of the plant & all equipment daily or between use
- 100% Air chill system – no massive chlorinated water bath chills for our birds
- Each bird is individually air chilled
- A single layer air chill system to assure there is no cross contamination by bird-to-bird dripping
- Each bird gets an Organic Certified anti-microbial dip to reduce the possibility of any contamination.
- Continuous sampling of our feed, litter, water, equipment & birds by our in house QC laboratory & monitored by top management
As you can see, we are proud of what we do, and stand behind the integrity of our product, people and processes in making sure every Bell & Evans chicken is the safest, most wholesome chicken our customers can buy.