USDA responds to consumer group concerns about AI
The USDA has responded formally to a campaign by the
Organic Consumers Association, which criticised some parts of the department's
approach to bird flu control.
The OAC said that the plan: did not acknowledge the risk posed by
factory-farm poultry industry practices in the emergence and spread of
highly-pathogenic avian influenza; did not address what will be done to
protect free-range, organic and family farmers; and lacked adequate protective
measures for farm workers and contract growers.
systems and programs are in place to deal with the concerns raised.
In its response formal response to the concerns raised by the OCA, the
department said it works closely with the commercial poultry industry to promote
safe biosecurity practices to prevent or limit disease spread.
â€œThe USDA examines all possible risk factors for disease spread present in
both commercial and non-commercial poultry operations, including extensive
poultry testing through the National Poultry Improvement Plan,â€ the
â€œThe USDA is working to safeguard free-range, organic, and family farmers
through updated policy guidance on the payment of indemnity to growers and
owners. Specifically, growers will receive indemnity for their expenditures for
raising birds; owners receive the fair market value for birds (minus the amount
paid to growers),â€ it continued
â€œIn regard to providing safety or protective equipment for farm workers or
contract growers, the USDA defers to the expertise of the US Department of
Labor's Occupational Safety and
(OSHA). On November 14 OSHA issued new guidance on
protecting employees against HPAI H5N1.â€
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