Special to SEGAZINE
Producing 26 million pounds of chicken a day, Georgia is the poultry capital of the nation.
The poultry industry employs over 100,000 people in the state and contributes $28 billion to the state’s economy; but U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors and workers in poultry plants across the southeast say the process of preparing chicken for grocery store shelves has made them sick.
“This is my morning breakfast,” said former USDA inspector Sherry Medina, referring to her collection of pill bottles. Medina said her day starts with a regimen of medications and oxygen.
“I’ve never had asthma in my lifetime, was never born with it, never had it – was diagnosed in 2007,” said Medina.
Medina worked a chicken processing lines for years. As a USDA inspector, her job was to inspect chicken carcasses as they came down the line. Medina said it wasn’t until 2006 when the poultry processing plant she was working in implemented the spraying of anti-microbial treatments that she slowly started to notice health issues.
Experts on both sides of the issue explain what’s in the chemicals, why they’re being used and the alternatives being used chicken plants in other countries.