Kentucky Chicken Plant Shut Down After Inspection

May 21, 2007

Work was suspended after an inspection at a western Kentucky chicken processing facility that prepared chicken served to Queen Elizabeth II recently, officials said.

The suspension happened last week after a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection raised an unspecified concern at Perdue Farms’ plant in Cromwell, in Ohio County midway between Owensboro and Bowling Green, the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reported.

The plant was allowed to temporarily resume production to process chickens remaining in the plant but had to shut down once the job was finished, the newspaper reported.

“To not have processed those birds would have been a poultry welfare issue,” said Julie DeYoung, vice president for corporate communications in Perdue’s headquarters in Salisbury, Md.

Amanda Eamich, a spokeswoman for the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service, said an inspector in the plant “did raise a concern about (the facility’s) ability to consistently produce a safe and wholesome product.”

Perdue was given 72 hours to submit a plan to address the concern.

“They submitted their plan, which wasn’t entirely sufficient, and that’s when the suspension was (ordered),” Eamich said. Eamich said she did not have specifics of the problem.

The company said it hoped to resume processing chickens at the plant Sunday or Monday.

The plant, which opened in 1995, recently provided specialty cut chicken breasts for a meal served to Queen Elizabeth II in Louisville, where she attended the Kentucky Derby, the newspaper reported.

The company employs about 1,250 workers. In 2006, the plant processed 50 million live chickens into 255 million pounds of fresh meat.

Information from: Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer,

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