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Poultry Industry Launches New Web Site on Avian Influenza

Washington, D.C., November 15, 2005 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts: Richard L. Lobb, National Chicken Council, (202) 296-2622 ext. 19
Sherrie Rosenblatt, National Turkey Federation, (202) 898-0100 ext. 227
Hilary Shallo Thesmar, Egg Safety Center, (202) 833-8850


“It's Not in Your Food” Is Message to Consumers

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- November 15, 2005 -- The poultry industry has launched a new Web site to respond to any public concern that may occur over avian influenza, highlighting the fact that it is not a food issue and that H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza -- “bird flu” -- does not exist in the United States.

“Protecting flocks, protecting people,” says the site, at “Avian influenza: It's not in your food,” the site says, in an article on the safety of poultry products. The site is a joint project of the National Chicken Council (NCC), National Turkey Federation (NTF), and Egg Safety Center (ESC).

“The Web site will allow the industry to communicate with our partners, customers, and consumers regarding the latest information on avian influenza,” said Hilary Shallo Thesmar, Ph.D., R.D., director of the Egg Safety Center in Washington, D.C. “The goal of the poultry industry is to prevent the disease from occurring in our flocks and to continue to provide a safe, wholesome, and nutrient rich product,” she said.

Richard Lobb, NCC communications director, said the site would provide information to the public on such issues as the fact that the U.S. imports no poultry from areas affected by the “bird flu” in Asia and that U.S. poultry are protected from migratory birds and other potential sources of the avian influenza virus.

“As Thanksgiving is approaching and nearly every American will have turkey at the center of their plate, this Web site will remind people that we don't import any turkeys into the United States,” said Sherrie Rosenblatt, senior director of marketing and communications at NTF. “The U.S. turkey farmer's number one priority is to ensure the health and well-being of the flock to provide a safe and nutritious product for Thanksgiving and all year long."

Information is given in brief articles, a question-and-answer format, and in news releases. Some information is also given in Spanish. Links are also provided to sources of official information, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“So far we have had no indication that the public is very concerned about avian influenza in its present form or about food safety being affected by avian influenza,” Lobb said. “However, we felt it was appropriate to post factual information that will address any concerns that people may have.”

The National Chicken Council represents integrated chicken producer-processors, the companies that produce, process and market chickens. Member companies of NCC account for approximately 95 percent of the chicken sold in the United States.

The National Turkey Federation is the advocate for all segments of the U.S. turkey industry, providing services and conducting activities which increase demand for its members' products and protect and enhance the ability to effectively and profitably provide wholesome, high quality, nutritious turkey products.

The Egg Safety Center provides scientifically accurate information on food safety issues related to eggs. The Center works with egg producers to provide them with the most up to date information available, regulatory officials to share information to improve the safety of eggs, and public health officials to monitor foodborne illnesses. The Egg Safety Center exists under a cooperative agreement between the American Egg Board and United Egg Producers.