Key influencers take note — every sector of the livestock industry is taking major steps to meet and exceed consumer expectations, according to the 2017 Advances in Animal Ag report. The Animal Agriculture Alliance report highlights the industry’s commitment to continuous improvement in animal care, responsible antibiotic use, environmental sustainability, and food safety.
“The animal agriculture industry is broad and diverse, and it can be hard to stay on top of all the progress being made,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “Our Advances in Animal Ag report helps key influencers – such as the media, restaurant/retail/foodservice brand leaders, legislators, dietitians, and others – learn about animal agriculture’s commitment to innovation and advancement.”
Key messages from the report include:
- The health of broiler chickens in the U.S. continues to improve with scientific advancements in genetics, management, and nutrition. As a result of these industry-adopted developments, quarterly mortality rates remain at historic lows. According to 2016 statistics, today’s mortality rate is 4.8 percent compared to 18 percent in 1925.
- Hens under the United Egg Producers Certified program now account for 95 percent of all the nations laying hens and are independently audited annually based on guidelines recommended by a committee of world-renowned scientists in areas of food safety and animal behavior.
- In turkeys, the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service reported Salmonella continued to decline to 1.7 percent in its most recent analysis updated in 2015. The turkey industry has continued to aggressively drive down the occurrence of Salmonella, to achieve the lowest count possible among raw poultry products.
- The pork industry’s flagship education program for farmers and employees is the National Pork Board’s Pork Quality Assurance Plus. As of March 2017, more than 63,000 farmers and farm employees were PQA Plus certified.
- More than 80 percent of research funded by America’s beef producers is used throughout the beef supply chain on a daily basis to enhance the safety of beef and beef products.
- The U.S. dairy industry conducts almost four million tests each year on all milk entering dairy plants. In 2017, only 0.011 percent of all milk tanker samples tested positive for residues of animal medications, indicating that efforts at detecting and deterring harmful drug residues in milk are effective.
In addition to the 36-page report, an updated third-party expert contact list is available upon request.
“There is a lot of misinformation being shared about food and agriculture – often by people generations removed from agriculture, furthering the communication gap between farm and fork,” said Johnson Smith. “Our report explains how the industry shares the same values as today’s consumer with its never-ending commitment to animal care, food safety, sustainability and responsible antibiotic use.”