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Chicken industry to test every flock

by 5m Editor
6 January 2006, at 12:00am

WASHINGTON - Seeking to reassure people that chicken is safe to eat, companies that raise chickens said yesterday that they will test every flock for bird flu before the birds are slaughtered. Companies that account for more than 90 percent of the nearly 10 billion chickens produced in 2005 in the U.S. have signed up for the testing program and said more are expected to follow, according to the National Chicken Council, a trade group that represents producers. &quot;We just want to assure people of the safety of the food supply,&quot; council spokesman Richard Lobb said. Consumption of chicken in the U.S. has held steady despite worries about a bird flu strain that has infected millions of birds throughout Asia and parts of Europe and has killed 74 people. The average person in the U.S. ate 85 pounds of chicken last year, compared with 84 pounds in 2004, according to the Agriculture Department. Chicken prices at the grocery store have dropped in recent months, mostly because production is up and exports are down, said David Harvey, a poultry analyst for the department&#39;s Economic Research Service. The council did not say what companies are participating, although Lobb said, &quot;Practically all the big ones are in it.&quot; Among the biggest companies in the industry are Tyson Foods Inc., Perdue Farms Inc. and Pilgrim&#39;s Pride Corp. <i>Source: The Journal News</i>

5m Editor