More and more people are increasingly paying more attention to their health, the quality of their lives and the environment. Consumers are demanding healthy and sustainable diets that reduce health-related costs. For poultry farmers, it's good news that chicken is one of the diets that are safe, nutritious and of high protein quality. The farmers, therefore, need to put more effort into strategies that guarantee good production processes at the farm all the way to the consumer's table.

The farm-to-fork strategy applies to all the activities of all participants, from the farms of poultry stock to nutrition, slaughter, packaging, transport, and consumption.

Farm to fork philosophy is a comprehensive food safety strategy which guarantees that the consumer receives a safe, high-quality product. The meat cut can be traced to an egg which the chick hatched from.

  1. Farm production

Are you hatching your chicks or buying day-old chicks? Whichever place you source your chicks, you must maintain records of the hatchery supplying you with the day-old chicks. Demand for the vaccination history of the chicks and the Parent-stock source and any biodata that you can get, i.e., the breed, Parent age, and Salmonella status. The parent stock should be reared in a highly bio-secure environment.

These chicks should then be provided with top-of-the-range feed, housing, litter, utilities, and technical and veterinary services from a team of poultry men and technical experts that have the knowledge and expertise that is essential to maintaining standards of excellence that are guided by international schemes.

Records should be kept of all vaccinations done against such diseases as Gumboro, Infectious Bronchitis and New Castle Disease. Records of feeding and water intake should be kept, sample birds should be regularly weighed, and a profile of the growth curve kept for future reference. Mortality rates should be tabulated daily, and any medical intervention recorded, such as the drugs used, veterinarian prescriptions, enrichments, rodent control baits and any barn visits.

  1. Poultry processing

As a poultry processor, you can shape the market and influence consumers' dietary choices through good production methods, humane slaughter, and the use of bio-degradable packaging material. You should endeavour to adhere to recognised and approved food and safety health standards.

You should slaughter your birds at maturity and adhere to Halal requirements. It is a legal requirement that all meats for sale to the public are inspected for common food-borne diseases. The birds are then eviscerated, categorized, further processed and packed ready for transportation to various retail centers. Every batch of chickens is certified healthy by Government Veterinarians at each stage of the process. The chickens may be packed into containers such as biodegradable wraps. Proper packaging prevents pathogens from getting into the meat and causing contamination.

  1. Food distribution

This involves the storage and transportation of finished products. Poultry products must be stored in approved storage temperatures that will ensure that they remain fresh and safe to eat. The distribution trucks must equally be thermoregulated to ensure food safety. Improper refrigeration conditions can cause products to go bad or cause the proliferation of pathogenic microorganisms. The products are then delivered.

  1. Consumption

The journey does not end at the retail shop, it is still important for the producer to educate every participant in the whole chain to maintain the highest level of hygiene during food storage at home before preparation for consumption. This is what is referred as the Fork step. As most of these products are not ready to eat, precaution is needed in the kitchen to prevent foodborne contamination during preparation and cooking. This marks the end of Farm to Fork journey.

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