FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 14, 2000
|| Contact: Karen Davis 757-678-7875
"CRACKS" IN THE "THINKING PAPERS" ON EGG SAFETY
Science Shows :When Hens Are Starved Salmonella Soars
Machipongo, VA - United Poultry Concerns submitted Comments today
challenging FDA's Egg Safety Plan. Far from being the "comprehensive
plan" it claims to be, the provisional Plan ignores farm practices
that scientists have identified as a major cause of Salmonella
enteritidis in hens and their eggs.
Salmonella will continue to rage as long as the egg industry
maintains the practice of starving hens for 5 to 14 or more days at a
time. The practice, known as forced molting, is illegal in the UK and
the European Union, and is not done in Canada. The Canadian
Veterinary Medical Association issued a position statement this year
condemning forced molting "involving deprivation of food and/or
water" because "such deprivation is sufficiently severe to compromise
US Department of Agriculture studies have shown that the "traumatic
physiological impact" of total food removal results in a significant
increase in Salmonella infected hens and eggs. While unmolted hens
have to ingest 50,000 Salmonellas to become infected, force-molted
hens need fewer than 10.
The "Thinking Papers on Egg Safety" ignore the fact that the USDA and
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture conducted field studies of 31
flocks from May 1992 to May 1994 which showed that molted flocks
"produced SE-positive eggs twice as frequently as non-molted flocks
for a period up to 140 days"-4 1/2 months-following the forced molt.
Government scientists (Nicholas, et al.) say their studies "show that
a prevalent industry procedure [forced molting] has a substantial
effect on the severity of an SE infection." According to The
Washington Post, April 30, "When hens are denied food, the
researchers have found, their immune systems become weakened, leaving
them more vulnerable to the salmonella bacteria."
United Poultry Concerns is calling upon the FDA and USDA's Food
Safety & Inspection Service to include the elimination of forced
molting as a critical component of their final National Standards for
For more information contact Karen Davis at 757-678-7875.