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44 of 174 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Does Nothing to Educate Consumers on Realities of Modern Poultry Production, February 19, 2014
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This review is from: The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America's Food Business (Hardcover)
We understand that many people have questions about the modernization of agriculture and food production. And we welcome those questions, as well as thoughts on how best to feed the world while ensuring our food is safe, accessible and affordable. But that’s not what this book is. It offers no solutions, no constructive criticism.

The contract-farming model has remained strong for more than half a century because it is mutually beneficial to both farmers and chicken companies.

But the real winners of this system are consumers. This vertical coordination has saved consumers well over $1 trillion on chicken purchases between 1980 and 2013 and has resulted in product innovation that has greatly widened consumer choice. After adjusting for inflation, chicken today costs less than it did a decade ago.

This system provides a level of traceability and accountability unparalleled by the majority of food production. No matter where they buy their chicken, consumers can rest assured that the eggs came from healthy breeder stock, the feed came from U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensed feed mills, and each product was made under careful inspection by U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors.

From hatchery to farm to processing plant, there is an unbroken chain of quality and food safety, as a result of vertical integration, that has led to the most technologically advanced, safest poultry production system in the world. And we’ve done all of this while improving the welfare of the birds and reducing our environmental footprint threefold over the past several decades.

For a different perspective and more information visit: [...]
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 18 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 19, 2014 9:45:26 AM PST
Lynn says:
The contract farming model has remained strong from more than half a century because people have no idea what they are getting involved in when they sign that first contract. They don't know that their income will remain stagnant while their expenses increase. They don't know that when the poultry company wants to increase the market price of chicken that they,the farmers, will suffer because they will receive less chickens per flock and have increased time that they are without chickens to raise meaning less income.

Much of the well over $1 trillion that you say consumers have saved on chicken purchases between 1980 and 2013 has been saved on the backs of the farmers who raised those chickens. While I don't have figures dating back to 1980, I do have figures from 1985 and per pound base pay was .0420 a pound. Base pay per pound now, 28 years later, is .0600 a pound an increase of a little over 42%. Minimum wage that everyone knows hasn't kept up with inflation has increased 116% in the same time period. Propane prices have increased 285% since 1992. From the first flock we raised till now, our farm has consistently done well in the tournament ranking system that the poultry companies use and we have no debt outside the debt owed for the poultry houses, yet we struggle to pay our bills and taxes and feel we are constantly one bad flock away from bankruptcy. If my husband didn't have a full time job off the farm we wouldn't be able to survive.

While it's much harder to exit the contract poultry business than it is to enter it, I have never known anyone who was able to get out say they regretted it. The contract farming model COULD be mutually beneficial, but as it operates now the only winners are the chicken companies.

Posted on Feb 19, 2014 12:54:16 PM PST
Mr. Super is the Vice President of Communications for the National Chicken Council and has not disclosed that fact in this review. His review is in fact not a review, but rather a response to the book from an aggrieved party with a vested interest in disparaging the book.

Posted on Feb 19, 2014 1:00:28 PM PST
Mr. Super is the Vice President of Communications for the National Chicken Council and has not disclosed that fact in this review. His review is in fact not a review, but rather a response to the book from an aggrieved party with a vested interest in disparaging the book.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2014 2:07:28 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2014 2:17:28 PM PST
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Posted on Feb 19, 2014 9:38:09 PM PST
S.Dobbs says:
Below is the Bio on Mr. Super which can be found at the National Chicken Council web site (http://www.nationalchickencouncil.org/about-ncc/contacts/). He's a Public Relations and Lobbying Representative for the National Chicken Council so I don't think he has anything to say to the consumer or about the contract farmers that is honest or caring or that we can trust.

He completely disregards Lynn's comments, which prove wrong, his claims that the contract farming model is "mutually beneficial to both farmers and chicken companies." Over and over, big business tries to B.S. the American public. After so much betrayal of the public by big business, is there any American naive enough to believe the lies that Corporations and their spokespersons tell? Mr. Super is nothing but a sleazy P.R. man for the National Chicken Council and formerly of the American Meat Institute, both of which serve the companies like Tyson's who treat the farmers so badly.

"Super brings more than 13 years of combined experience in strategic communications, public policy, politics and meat and poultry issues management to NCC's senior management team. He is responsible for day-to-day media relations, media outreach, social media management and strategic communications planning to supplement the National Chicken Council's legislative, regulatory, consumer education and marketing efforts.

Prior to his joining the National Chicken Council, Super spent the three and a half years at the American Meat Institute, most recently as vice president of public affairs. He previously spent six years at Greener and Hook LLC, a Washington-based strategic communications consulting firm where his focus was on planning and executing communications strategies and delivering strategic communications and media relations counsel to corporations, trade associations, ad-hoc organizations, non-profits and political candidates at the local, state and federal levels.
Super began his career in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill as a press assistant and legislative aide for U.S. Senator John W. Warner (R-Va.)."

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2014 9:39:43 PM PST
S.Dobbs says:
Thank you for telling the truth Lynn.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2014 9:45:37 PM PST
S.Dobbs says:
You've got to be kidding Mr. Super. You have no vested interest in discrediting Mr. Leonard who criticizes chicken and meat industry practices when you currently work for the National Chicken Council and worked for the National Meat Industry? Two institutions that support, lobby for and promote these industries. Boy, you must think American consumers are stupid. Furthermore it is so obviously disingenuous to say that you meant for your title to appear in the subject line. I think you intentionally omitted it.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2014 7:58:10 AM PST
I knew the moment I read Mr Super's review that he worked for the meat industry and wasnt surprised to see that confirmed in the comments. After reading how negative Mr Super is on this book, I took that as a glowing recommendation and that pushed me to order the book. Without his review, I probably would have not ordered it. I also agree that his title was likely intentionally omitted.

I started to laugh when I read "consumers can rest assured that the eggs came from healthy breeder stock". Perhaps "healthy" chickens mean so pumped with hormones and antibiotics to make them bigger and their legs can't support their own weight so they can't even walk? Has anyone seen the movies Food Inc. [HD] or American Meat or Food Matters or any of the other food documentaries? I think the meat in the US is terrible quality and that has led me to switch a large portion of my diet to vegetarian. I used to eat meat with almost every meal daily and now eat meat a couple times per week. If I'm not feeling well, I skip all the meat (yes, I feel better faster). If you want healthy eggs and meat, buy organic directly from a farm or farmers market if possible. It may cost more but doctors bills and health problems cost even more.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2014 10:45:10 AM PST
Lynn says:
Mr. Super you just glossed over my comments and avoided the topic which is that the contract poultry business is not mutually beneficial to growers. On the website chickenroost.com that is touted as an educational site set up by the NCC there is a document www.chickenroost.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Poultry-Panel-Testimony.pdf that seemingly tries to paint the picture that the business is mutually risky and mutually beneficial. However, reading closely shows that growers capital expenses as well as operating expenses have increased at a far greater rate than income. In fact there is a sentence in the report that states "Gross income has increased 32% from 2004 to 2008 while total operating expenses increased 35% over the same period."
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