Tell FDA that Organic Farmers Shouldn't Follow Their New Guidance on Eggs and Salmonella!

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The FDA has issued a new guidance for farms that have more than 3,000 egg-laying chickens. It purportedly aims to prevent salmonella and other foodborne illnesses by isolating chickens from cats, rats, flies, and wild birds—even though no evidence exists showing them to be of significant risk at spreading salmonella. In fact, all but one outbreak of foodborne illness in the US since 1995 has originated from industrial factory farms—not organic farms.

The FDA guidance tells farmers to cover their outdoor pastures with either roofing or netting, or use noise cannons to scare away wild birds. FDA also advocates walls around the pasture, to prevent mice, rats, and cats from entering, and then put a roof over it. Not only would this be cost-prohibitive, it also completely contradicts what “free-range” is supposed to be about.

The problem, of course, is that FDA is describing the commonplace practice where farmers house their birds inside, giving them access to tiny porches that only 1% to 3% of the chickens can use at a time. Write to the agency today and explain that their proposed food safety measures are making unwarranted assumptions about the way egg-producing chickens should be kept, and for organic farmers to follow these guidelines would mean reversing all the benefits their methods provide. Show them that the threat is not from small organic chicken farms, but from filthy industrial CAFOs. Ask them to withdraw the guidance.

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  • US Food and Drug Administration

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