FDA targets free-range, pastured poultry and eggs with ridiculous new draft guidance pushing for all chickens to be raised indoors
by: Jonathan Benson
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
America’s small farmers are once again under attack, this time by a new draft guidance issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that threatens to eliminate truly free-range and pastured poultry and eggs. Entitled “Questions and Answers Regarding the Final Rule, Prevention of Salmonella Enteritidis in Shell Eggs During Production, Storage, and Transportation,” the new agency report basically suggests that all egg producers with 3,000 or more laying hens be forced to raise their birds indoors to avoid bacterial contamination, which would eliminate consumer access to chicken and eggs from birds raised naturally outdoors on pasture.
In response to a slew of illness outbreaks that have occurred in recent years, the FDA has once again sidestepped the real problem, factory chicken farms, and instead focused its attention on small-scale producers, which generally are the only farms producing truly safe and healthy eggs. Even though large-scale factory chicken farms are the ones brimming with harmful bacteria, which is a direct result of birds being crammed into tiny cages and left to wallow in their own feces and filth, the FDA is going after family-scale egg producers that allow their birds to roam around in natural sunlight and peck at worms and insects in pasture grasses.
According to the FDA’s recommendation for a final ruling on “safe” hen rearing, all farmers with 3,000 or more birds will need to essentially convert their outdoor areas into indoor areas by surrounding their fields with tall fencing and covering the tops with mesh or solid roofing in order to prevent wild birds, rodents, and other creatures from entering the space. Having open, outdoor spaces for laying hens, according to the FDA, is now considered to be dangerous and a threat to public health, so it will have to be eliminated.