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Safety Standards Keep Fresh Chicken At Bay

by 5m Editor
23 August 2007, at 10:47am

SOUTH KOREA - Commissary shoppers in South Korea are still asking: "Where’s the fresh chicken?" as the Defense Commissary Agency continues to stock and sell only those products that come from DoD-approved sources.

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"Fresh poultry will return to commissary shelves in Korea only when laboratory testing consistently shows that the products supplied by local processing facilities contain no pathogens that can make our patrons ill."

Patrick Nixon, DeCA director and chief executive officer

DeCA policy is to stock only items that come from DoD-approved sources," said .Patrick Nixon, DeCA director and chief executive officer. "This policy ensures the safest possible products are available for DeCA patrons."

Fresh chicken has not been sold in the Korean theater since September 2006 when the product was pulled from commissaries after military food inspectors noted higher-than-normal bacteria levels in the chicken during routine testing.

Frozen poultry imported from U.S. suppliers is readily available in all U.S. Forces Korea commissaries, but fresh poultry will not be returning to stores until military food inspectors are satisfied that local processing facilities meet DeCA’s rigid standards, Nixon said.

"The chicken processing plant used by DeCA had passed local quality standards, but our standards are more strict," Nixon said. "I understand our customers are anxious to have fresh chicken back on the shelves, but we will not put any product in your commissary until we are completely satisfied that what we are providing is as wholesome as possible."

According to Nixon, DeCA’s policy abides by the approved source standards established by the U.S. Army Veterinary Command.

"As a result of these established standards, our commissaries have an extra layer of food safety for our patrons," he said. "Fresh poultry will return to commissary shelves in Korea only when laboratory testing consistently shows that the products supplied by local processing facilities contain no pathogens that can make our patrons ill."

About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Authorized patrons purchase items at cost plus a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. Shoppers save an average of more than 30 percent on their purchases compared to commercial prices – savings worth about $3,000 annually for a family of four. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America’s military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.

5m Editor