Organic food is all the rage, but despite popular opinion it’s not automatically safer than conventionally grown foods. A team from several institutions led by University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture food and poultry scientists has been awarded a three-year grant for nearly $600,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Integrated Food Safety Initiative grant to do food safety research in natural and organic poultry.
Steven Ricke, a professor in the UA Food Science Department and the Center for Excellence in Poultry Science, serves as the project leader with Phil Crandall, a professor in Food Science, and Frank Jones, associate director for Extension in Poultry Science.
The term “organic” is strictly defined by the USDA National Organic Program to include poultry raised with no antibiotics, fed 100 percent organic feed and given access to outdoors. The USDA definition for “natural” for meat and poultry products specifies no artificial ingredients or added color and only minimal processing. However, the market for “natural” is rapidly changing, and this definition is being updated. USDA has also proposed voluntary standards for “naturally-raised” livestock to be raised without antibiotics and not fed animal by-products.
Organic poultry currently accounts for no more than 2 percent of the total poultry market, but it is the largest share of the organic meat market and is growing by leaps and bounds. Between 1997 and 2003, sales of organic broilers increased from about 38,000 to 6.3 million birds.
The meteoric rise in popularity of organic poultry has prompted a need for a comprehensive study of how to ensure its safety, Ricke said.
Organic and natural poultry are currently produced and processed in smaller facilities than is conventional poultry. “However, small production is usually not integrated, providing less opportunity for the control of product quality, including food safety, as in large-scale, integrated production,” Ricke said. “Almost no university research has focused on small-scale poultry production systems or their food safety issues,” said Ricke, who also holds the Wray Endowed Chair in Food Safety and serves as director of the UA Center for Food Safety.
Ricke and his team leaders will coordinate 13 research specialists on four teams from the U of A, Texas A&M University, West Virginia University, Cornell University, Purdue University and along with Dr. Anne Fanatico of the National Center for Appropriate Technology.
“Each team consists of faculty who can address the complex nature of the problems associated with food safety in organic and natural poultry,” Ricke said. “Our Extension specialists have existing close relationships with growers and processors statewide and nationally, as well as food safety education and communication specialists who can address the complex issues to the grower, processor, consumer and retail industries.”Among the expected results of the project is a plan to write guidelines for Good Agricultural Practices – a recognized collection of principles for production and processing – for food safety on natural and organic poultry farms. The guidelines will focus on developing plans that are relevant to plants of particular sizes. Ricke said a set of Good Agricultural Practices will play a critical role in ensuring safety.
“Because natural and organic poultry production does not use antibiotics or other medications, Good Agricultural Practices are even more important,” Ricke explained.
The project will also include meetings and workshops with industry personnel. That will include a local one-day workshop on natural and organic poultry production focusing on food safety and bird health.
“The impact of completing this grant is huge as it has the potential to reach large- and small-scale producers, processors, policymakers and stakeholders who need assistance in food safety management,” Ricke said.
Steven C. Ricke | Newswise Science News
New data unearths pesticide peril in beehives
21.04.2017 | Cornell University
New rice fights off drought
04.04.2017 | RIKEN
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy