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Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 11:57am

USDA Raises Chicken Standards

Updated: 4 years ago.
Chicken farm (photo courtesy USDA)

The federal government is unveiling new standards for poultry producers.  The government says it will make your food safer.
Right now up to 20-percent of dead chickens in poultry plants can test positive for salmonella bacteria without any consequences.  The USDA is changing that to 7-percent. The salmonella bacteria sickens millions of people every year.
 UGA Poultry Professor Scott Russell says samples are collected and sent to USDA labs in Athens.
“Inspectors will actually collect the samples and do the carcass rinses and then they place them in a cooler with blue ice and they send them overnight express here and then the actual microbiological evaluations are done here.”
Russell says currently the average salmonella rates in Georgia are already around 5-percent. Poultry processors keep the bacteria in check by scalding, chilling and disinfecting the carcasses.