Regarding the April 26 front-page article “At poultry plants, chemicals could proliferate”:
At Murray’s Chicken, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our customers, employees and the Agriculture Department inspectors assigned to our facility, and the quality of our product.
The Post article linked greater production-line speeds in proposed USDA regulations permitting increases from 140 to 175 birds per minute to an expanded use of chemicals in the industry. Our operation runs at significantly slower speeds (approximately 50 percent of the proposed level). We have not had a line-speed increase in more than 10 years, have no plans to increase speeds and no intention of introducing new or higher quantities of chemicals. We are not a large conglomerate but rather a family-owned and -operated business committed to producing a safe, quality product.
We have gone to great lengths and expense to limit our use of chemicals. However, to satisfy the USDA’s pathogen-reduction requirements, some chemical use is unavoidable. We use approved food-safe chemicals at approved levels, and we have never been issued a citation by any state or federal regulatory agency for the improper use of chemicals or the presence of any airborne contaminants in our work environment.
I am honored to put my name on Murray’s Chicken and to feed it to my grandchildren.
Murray Bresky, South Fallsburg, N.Y.
The writer is president and chief executive of Murray’s Chicken.
We take exception to The Post’s characterization of a statement by our vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs as an assertion that, in The Post’s words, “the volume of chemicals would increase further under the new rules because a larger volume of birds would be processed.” The volume of chicken produced is dictated by demand and the market, not line speeds or inspection systems.
The chicken industry takes the health and well-being of our workers and inspectors very seriously. Any food-grade antimicrobial is approved for use by the USDA and classified as safe by the Food and Drug Administration at the low concentrations at which it is used. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration found no connection or causation whatsoever between the very unfortunate death of an inspector featured in the article and the plant environment.
It is ironic that these inspectors, their union and allies are claiming how bad the work environment is in the plants, yet they’re fighting tooth and nail to stay in them to save some taxpayer-funded jobs that have proven unnecessary over the past 13 years.
Mike Brown, Washington
The writer is president of the National Chicken Council.