chicken house numbers

Old chicken houses along County Line Road near Rose now hold hay for cattle. KELLY BOSTIAN/Tulsa World

Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced more than two million pounds of chicken products have been recalled by Simmons Prepared Foods, Inc. over fears they "may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically metal," which is one of the strangest processed meat recalls we’ve ever had ("More than 2 million pounds of poultry products recalled, may be tainted with metal," Nov.2).

Simmons Foods corporate structure has recently overrun three counties in northeastern Oklahoma, constructing their new megapoultry feeding operations, with basically no cost to the company.

The contracted farmers bear the burdens of bank loans and a fast-track schedule for delivering live birds. Neighbors’ concerns regarding unlimited water consumption and air pollution from the “composted” carcasses and waste streams have largely been ignored.

Now Simmons has opened up their new poultry processing plant, but did they adequately test all the new equipment prior to processing and shipping over two million pounds of chicken to the unsuspecting public?

Institutions in Oklahoma purchased these products.

How will the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry react to this recall? Will it stop rubber stamping those $10 poultry feeding operation permits?

Secretary Blaine Arthur has expressed no concern for public health or private property rights of the citizens of Oklahoma while defending an out-of-state corporation.

Oklahomans lose on both ends of this food safety and economic issue, but our state agencies continue their lackadaisical regulating and must-approve permitting of every corporate demand.

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