Archive for the “Animal Welfare” Category
At Bell & Evans our Certified Organic chickens and turkeys are fed non GMO Certified Organic corn and soybeans. Our soybeans are extruded and expeller pressed into meal. No GMO seed is allowed by U.S.D.A. Organic Certifiers as enforced by division of U.S.D.A.
Bell & Evans sources only U.S. grown grain, whenever possible. If we come up short, we may buy a limited amount from Canada or Argentina.
We do not Import Organic Grains from China. With the cost of Organic grain being more than twice the cost of conventional, many dishonest operators have entered the business.
Bell & Evans non Organic Certified chicken products.
I would be very happy to produce all of our chickens & turkeys without using GMO grain. At this time it is not possible for Bell & Evans to do that because of the following reasons:
- There is only a small percentage of non GMO grain producers left in the U.S.
- The Ethanol demand continues to take acres away from Organic and non GMO grain production.
- There is no U.S.D.A. or Certified enforcement for non GMO grain production or handling.
- As soon as we can find a reliable, honest source of non GMO grain, we will be very happy to deliver.
- I believe when we sell a product or a service to a customer, we need to deliver what they thought they bought.
We will double our efforts on procuring non GMO grain and will report again in the near future on the situation.
No Bell & Evans diets contain Hexane processed soybeans.
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In my opinion, the Commonwealth is about to support their second biggest mistake in just a few years — the Perdue Hexane Extraction Soybean Processing Plant in Lancaster County. The first was the Ethanol plant in Clearfield County that went bankrupt.
Hexane extraction soybean processing was studied and turned down in Pennsylvania several times over the last 40 years. This old short cut is dangerous technology for producing soybean meal and consumer groups agree this meal should not be consumed by humans or animals, any more than the “junk” called DDGS which is the by-product of the Ethanol industry. Hexane is a chemical by-product of the oil industry that is explosive, smells like model airplane glue and is very dangerous, in fact it is considered a Hazardous Air Pollutant by the EPA. In my opinion, products derived from Hexane extraction or Ethanol by-product should be considered inhumane for humans or animals to consume.
Over 25 years ago, I realized what Hexane extraction soybean meal was and I quit using this junk in our Bell & Evans chicken diets as soon as possible. We have a fast growing soybean processing industry in PA using extruders and presses without chemicals. This industry produces both great quality consumer and great quality animal grade products.
At Bell & Evans we produce over 50,000,000 happy, healthy chickens each year using over 60,000 tons of extruded and expeller pressed soybean meal. There are more than a dozen extruding processing plants in PA who are happy to buy your soybeans and these plants were not built with state money.
Can you imagine an out-of-state company, like Perdue, trying to buy up all of the PA crops of soybeans and asking farmers to abandon organic crops, corn, wheat, vegetables and other food crops to plant more soybeans? What about the rest of us in PA? We already have a soybean shortage in PA.
Let’s rethink this deal and do the right thing for all of us, including the animals and the environment.
Please contact your local Representative, Senator, DEP, EPA or the Governor directly and let them know that you do not support this dangerous project.
(Please click here to see the ad as it will appear in local newspapers this weekend.)
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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.
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When the retail food industry demands meeting a price point and a profit margin that may mean there is not much left for the producer. It’s exactly how we push producers to do unscrupulous things.
For example, feeding animals Hexane produced soybean meal, arsenic, and DDGS ethanol by products loaded with sulfur and antibiotics.
In the poultry industry the list of short cuts and cost cuts could fit the “pink slime” description.
Let’s start moving the bar up. It starts with consumers demanding retailers to carry brands that follow strict quality protocols.
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When you buy organic, you assume you’re purchasing food free from pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones. But there is so much more. Organic is a commitment to provide you with the highest quality foods, using sustainable agriculture’s best practices.
Not only must the be chicken raised on a certified organic farm, but also everything it’s fed must be organically grown and certified. This makes the feed more expensive and is why some organic poultry and livestock producers have switched to importing questionably ‘organic grains’ from China.
The nation’s pre-eminent organic farming watchdog group, The Cornucopia Institute, announced this month that the USDA has uncovered attempted fraud by a Chinese organic agricultrual marketer. Using falsified organic certificates, from a French USDA accredited certifying agent, the Chinese marketer certified crops, such as soybeans, millet and buckwheat, headed for the US market were organic.
Why should this concern you, the consumer?
Possible pesticides and antibiotics in your food chain and… you’re not getting what you’re paying for.
At Bell & Evans we use only United States grown grains, corn and extruded and expeller-pressed soybeans that have been grown on certified organic farms and tracked from the field to our feed producers. Sure this grain costs more, but when we say our chicken is 100% organic… we have the certifications to prove it!
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At the beginning of the new year, we all make resolutions to eat healthier. I thought it would be a good time to tell you about our chickens diet, because well-fed chickens are happy and less-stressed. The Bell & Evans Animal Welfare Standard guarantees our birds always have access to fresh water and our specially-blended feed.
The Bell & Evans Diet
Our birds thrive on our scientifically-formulated, all-vegetarian diet. The feed is Bell & Evans’ special blend of locally-grown corn and extruded and expeller-pressed soybeans, supplemented with three times the recommended vitamins, including A, D, E, K, B-12, niacin, riboflavin and thiamine. To bolster our young chick’s immune systems, they are fed a special starter diet, containing 15-times the recommended amounts of vitamin E, an antioxidant.
Each batch is electronically monitored to make sure it meets our formulation standards, plus our feed is routinely lab-checked to assure its nutrient value remains constant. We also take the extra step to pelletize the feed, because it makes it more digestible and less likely that contaminants can enter the food chain.
Unlike commodity-produced chickens, we never feed our birds junk food such as rendered meat scraps; bone, feather or fish meal; animal fats; expired bakery goods; used cooking oils or grease; or feed additives containing arsenic. That doesn’t sound very appetizing, does it? We don’t think so either.
You may ask…
Why are extruded soybeans and expeller-pressed soybeans so important?
Our special soybean processing method is environmentally friendly and produces soy meal that is richer in healthy nutrients such a lecithin, linoleic acid and vitamin E than the commonly used hexane solvent-extraction process. Nearly all soybeans in the United States are processed using the hexane solvent-extraction method. As part of this process, hexane gas is released into the air.
The Environmental Protection Agency categorizes hexane as a hazardous air pollutant. Residuals from the hexane potentially remain in the final meal. Though solvent extraction is more economical, we believe that raising a healthier chicken and protecting the environment far outweigh the costs.
Our organically-grown chickens dine on an all-vegetable, organic diet made from grains grown in the United States. They get their energy from locally-grown extruded soybeans and expeller pressed soybeans, enhanced with corn and amino acids, that provide additional protein and fiber essential for growing the most tender and flavorful organic chicken. Did you know some poultry producers purchase cheap, questionably “organic” grains from China? For more information: http://www.cornucopia.org/2009/05/soy-report-and-scorecard/
Bell & Evans organic farms are certified organic by Pennsylvania Certified Organic, a USDA-accredited certifier. PCO performs regular on site plant inspections, assuring you we continue to meet the USDA’s stringent requirements for organic certification.
And, of course, all Bell & Evans chickens receive no growth hormones or antibiotics, including Ionophores, in their feed, their water, or even the egg…ever.
In my next entry, I want to talk about how The Bell & Evans Humane Animal Welfare Standard impacts transporting our birds from the farm to the plant.
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