Koch Foods contests undercover video

by Erica Shaffer
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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – A video depicting animal abuse at a poultry processing plant owned by Koch Foods contains "inaccurate and out-of-context" depictions, the company said.

Mercy For Animals, an animal-rights organization, released videos taken at a chicken farm in Puckett, Miss. and a poultry processing plant in Chattanooga. Chicago-based Koch Foods owns both facilities. The video is narrated by "The Simpsons" co-creator Sam Simon. The organization also said Koch Foods is a major supplier of chicken to Chick-fil-A, which it currently is not.

But Koch Foods said the video is inaccurate and that the company emphasizes strict adherence to US Dept. of Agriculture regulations and animal welfare guidelines.

“The chicken-processing business is a highly regulated industry with well-established industry processing procedures, and our company works hard every day to ensure our employees and contractors follow strict regulations from the US Department of Agriculture and guidelines from the National Chicken Council,” said Joe Grendys, CEO of Koch Foods.

Koch Foods has operated in the poultry business for more than 25 years, and its Chattanooga plant has operated for more than 15 years, the company noted. But the company has not provided chicken to Chick-Fil-A since April 2013. Chick-fil-A also responded to the video.

“As a values-based organization, we strictly partner with suppliers who share in our goal of responsible environmental stewardship, and maintain our values throughout all animal welfare and management practices,” the company said in a statement. “We wholly support the humane treatment of all animals and do not condone their mistreatment at any point along the supply chain.”

Koch Foods said its processing employees receive training on animal welfare practices, and independent contractors are required to adhere to the NCC's animal welfare guidelines. The contractors also must complete training on compliance with the guidelines and are regularly monitored for compliance, the company said.

Additionally, Koch Foods is audited on its animal-welfare practices by an independent auditor. An audit of the Chattanooga facility in September revealed no animal welfare violations in the live or processing operations at the facility.

“As the CEO of the company, I take these allegations very seriously as I should,” Grendys said. “The company will not stand for a violation of the important processes and standards that we have in place. Koch Foods will remain vigilant to ensure it continues to operate in a humane, clean, and safe manner.”
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