CELEBRATING NATIONAL POULTRY DAY

It seems like our culture dedicates at least one day out of the year to celebrate any type of food or pastime imaginable. Whether you are a fan of chips and dip, peanut butter, or just plain goofing-off, you can have your day. With all the celebrating, it only seems fitting that today marks National Poultry Day.

If you are like me, you eat chicken and turkey at least three or more times a week. After all, poultry contains little fat and cholesterol and remains one of the best sources of protein. It’s also one of the most versatile meats and can be served as a casual sandwich for lunch or as a gourmet entrée for dinner.

Nearly every time I prepare a poultry recipe, I cannot help but think about all the feed that is required to produce just a pound of meat. Did you know that to produce a pound of chicken it takes over 2 lbs. of feed? In fact, over 60% of the feed is corn-related. Nearly the same thing can be said of turkey meat.

It’s really no surprise that livestock remains the largest market for U.S. corn, even larger than the amount used by ethanol and direct corn exports. About 13% of total corn usage goes to the U.S. poultry industry (10% for beef and 11% for pork) annually which translates into over 1.8 billion bushels of corn. That’s just slightly less than the entire corn production of the state of Illinois!

With all of the corn consumed by the U.S. poultry industry, it also amazes me just how much is used for indirect poultry meat exports. Poultry exports are just another way of adding value to the corn crop in Illinois. In 2011, U.S. poultry and egg exports accounted for 150 million soybean and 306 million corn bushel-equivalents. That’s a lot of corn feeding the poultry industry!

Whether you are a fan of white or dark meat, nearly everyone around the world eats poultry especially since few religions forbid it. While our Asian and European friends may enjoy eating the dark meat such as chicken thighs or turkey giblets more so than you or I do, poultry recipes definitely break any cultural barrier.

Chicken paws and feet don’t exactly sound as appetizing as chicken wings, but they are delicacies in China. In fact, Chinese enjoy these delicacies for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack time, and even for late supper.

Turkey meat is becoming more widely consumed around the world. While Mexico is the largest market for U.S. turkey, other countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Guatemala, and Japan are also starting to eat U.S. turkey and not just at Christmastime.

With the introduction of several American chain restaurants such as Wolfgang Puck to the Japan market, turkey spicy pizza and turkey ravioli pasta are just two of the recipes appearing on the menu.

For recipes with an international twist, please visit:

www.usapeec.org/foodconsumer_recipes.cfm?showmap=1

How will you celebrate National Poultry Day today?

Jennifer Geck
USAPEEC

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