Letters From Alabama

Roselle

The Historic FoodieRoselle, or Jamaica Sorrel, as it was also called, was also called the Florida Cranberry, though it is in no sense of the word a cranberry from a horticultural standpoint. It is in reality a Hibiscus (H. sabdariffa), akin to okra, which is H. esculentus. In growth it is a strong, tall growing plant from five to seven feet in height and revels in hot weather. For years it has been widely cultivated in the tropics. It does require a long growing period to mature.

“The flowers are solitary, with a red and thick calyx. These calices, when cooked, make an excellent sauce or jelly, almost identical in flavor and color with the better known cranberry of the North. It is this fact that has given it the name of the Florida Cranberry. A few plants in the garden will supply all family needs for pies, sauces, jellies and coloring matter, the same as the cranberry, and at a far lesser cost than that of purchasing the Northern grown product. Unlike the okra, however, the green seed pod is not edible”. — Bateman, Lee. Florida Trucking for Beginners. 1913.

Bateman spoke of roselle being grown in south to mid-Florida, however, two years prior Kennerly felt it would do well outside that area. It was noted growing in California. “This is an annual plant that has been sufficiently tested to prove it will grow to perfection in this climate. The fruit resembles Scarlet Podded Okra … It is a native of Australia, and great quantities of it are shipped from this point to all parts of Europe every season and net a handsome profit. Any land that will grow okra will grow the Florida cranberry.” — Kennerly, Clarence Hickman. 1911.

Its history is rooted in the Old World Tropics and it was introduced to the West Indies and elsewhere in tropical America. Hans Sloane, reported on it being grown in Jamaica as early as 1707. He found it in most gardens there and said of it, “The capsular leaves are made use of for making Tarts, Gellies, and Wine, to be used in fevers and hot distempers, to allay heat and quench thirst”. — Yearbook of Agriculture.

The first improved strain was named Victor, however, the author has found no source for Victor today.  P. J. Wester, Special Agent in the bureau of Plant Industry, is credited with tweaking it from wild strains. In 1904, he began collecting seed from plants bearing the largest calyces and which showed the most desirable characteristics. By 1906, the second generation of plants under his care possessed the qualities he sought and the strain continued from those plants. He described it as a slow-maturing plant. In fact, if planted in February or March it may not produce until around October.

A late Victorian writer said the flowers on the plant open at sunrise and close about noon. The flowers are beautiful and look like hibiscus flowers. In addition to pies, sauce, and jelly he claimed the fruit made good wine and “temperance drinks”. — The Florida Agriculturist. Vol. 25. 1898.

Making it even more versatile in the kitchen, a writer informed us in 1909 that a salad could be made of stems, leaves and calices “just as turnip salad ... A syrup that can be used for coloring purposes can be made of calices or stems and leaves. This may be boiled in the ordinary way and sealed in bottles for future use.” — Transactions of the Florida State Horticultural Society. 1909.

In that vein, The Country Gentleman told its readers that the bottled juice makes a superb drink and can be used in punches. — April 29, 1916.

In addition to its uses in the kitchen, in some parts of the world the plant is used for fiber. China and Thailand are the largest producers today. Thai Red roselle can be purchased from the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. It is said to be the earliest variety to begin flowering in trials in Virginia for the Seed Exchange.

“DIRECTIONS FOR MAKING THE JELLY.

Pick the pods that grow at the junction of each leaf, boil them and strain through a cloth or sieve, add a pint of sugar to each pint of juice, and boil again until it thickens and set aside to cool, when it will form a perfect jelly.” — Kennerly. 1911.

ROSELLE SAUCE.

Pick and wash the roselle berries, trim off the tip ends that seem withered. Cut off stems close up around the calyx. Then split open one side, thus letting the center part drop out. The outside part of the berry is the only edible portion. Now wash them again and put two cupfuls in a saucepan, add one-half cupful of cold water and a scant half-cupful of sugar. Cook, stirring constantly, about five minutes, or until soft. Then turn out in earthen bowl and eat cold with turkey or chicken. They are less sour and bitter than the cranberry and have a delicious flavor. — The Florida Tropical Cookbook. 1912.

ROSELLE PIE

Trim and wash the roselles. Take the centers out. Fill crust, add one-quarter cupful of sugar, two or three tablespoonfuls of water, a sifting of flour and some tiny pieces of lemon. Put on upper crust and bake fifteen minutes in hot oven. — The Florida Tropical Cookbook.

Roselle

Farm and Poultry Expo in Boaz, Alabama

The Historic FoodieI realize organizing an event is not easy. I've done it, and it is often one situation after another and can be a royal pain, therefore, I hope I can temper my review of this one with kindness. I must also be truthful, and the plain truth is we were sorely disappointed after driving 2 1/2 hours to get to the Farm and Poultry Expo in Boaz, Alabama. This is a reincarnation of the old Chicken and Egg Festival that was held annually in Moulton, Alabama. They decided not to continue with it so the current organizers built on their framework and moved the festival to Boaz.  

We garden and raise chickens, ducks, turkeys, guineas and geese and when I read "farm and poultry expo," I expected to find birds exhibited and be able to discuss the pros and cons others have encountered in raising them, new products that might better suit our needs than what we can find locally, maybe T-shirts and wearing apparel related to farming and poultry raising, information and products on treating sick or wounded birds, and especially to discuss with others like myself on ways I can reduce the cost of feeding my flock. These guys are eating us out of house and home, and there has to be a more economical approach.

Our first clue something might have gone amiss should have been that there was no street address given anywhere that we found – not online postings, or on signs. Everything said the festival was at the fairgrounds and we figured, "How hard could the fairgrounds be to find?" As it turns out, pretty hard since the festival was not at the fairgrounds, but in the old outlet mall that is basically empty now.

festival sign

We spotted an entertainment venue and stopped to ask where the farm and poultry expo was, expecting directions to the fairground. We were told that was it. Seeing nothing we expected, we asked where was the farm and poultry venue and the girl pointed and said, "The chickens are over there." As my eyes followed the length of her arm and extended finger and on in the direction she was pointing, all that was there was a carniva-type game that was giving away baby chicks as prizes. As I stood there trying to think of a polite comment, something deep inside me just took over and pushed the words out of my mouth, "Is that it?" It was. Well, except for a table with some catalogs from Murray McMurray hatchery like the dogeared copy on my nightstand.

An entertainer was singing in the parking lot, bouncy houses for the children, a vendor selling plants and flowers, a vendor exhibiting a tractor and tank for cleaning commercial chicken houses, a chainsaw wood carver, clothing (non-farm/poultry) clothing, candles, Alabama and Auburn items, a rather nice display of a cut-away 1940s tractor that allowed the viewer to see from one side the entire process of how the motor functioned, food vendors, and a local store had Husqvarna mowers and a couple of tillers on display.  

I made for the latter as we are in the market for a tiller, but not one that costs nearly a thousand bucks. When I asked what attachments are available for the mowers in the event we may choose to go that route, already having the lawn tractor, the young man said he didn't know but we could go shop at their store.  

We checked out the classes being offered and saw that they were on gardening topics and bees, neither of which was going to address the topics on which we sought information, so after being there roughly half an hour and having seen most everything, we decided to call it quits and antique shop our way home.  

In summary, I freely admit while I consider myself a top-notch researcher and I've written books and magazine articles and have done live cooking demos on local and national television, I can be somewhat of a ditz in that I invariably get where I'm going having left something at home. Before a book signing, my sweet husband always asks if I have a pen with which to sign my books because all too many times I've gotten to a signing and not had one. I often forget my sunglasses and walk through an event squinting, one eye closed, like a pirate with a patch covering one eye. I'm not the most organized person you'll find.

But, having looked forward to the "farm and poultry expo" for months, I was ready. In the past this event has been billed as one of the top festivals in the state with more than 27,000 people attending so I had on my most comfortable walking shoes ready to cover a lot of ground. I had my backpack to carry my purchases, I had a little money in my pocket, I not only had my sunglasses, I even had a hat to help block the sun. I was wearing my GRIT blogger T-shirt hoping to help spread the word about the wonderful blogs on so many interesting topics. I'm telling you I was ready for a day at the expo. Instead, a little more than half an hour after arriving we were back in the truck looking for an antique store.  

For locals, it was a nice morning to go out, let the children play and maybe look at a new mower or pick up a couple of hanging baskets for the porch, but for serious farm people who, like us, drove long distance to get there it was a real let-down. I hope for next year they choose a more appropriate name for the festival, one that adequately describes what it has to offer and that it is a tremendous success for them in the years to come because the Sand Mountain area is really quite nice. 

Shelf Life of Canned Foods

The Historic FoodieI think the whole expiration date racket on canned foods is generated by companies that have figured out they can sell more product if consumers replace something that may have been on their pantry shelf for a while.

When I was a child, and even as a younger adult, no one in my family ever threw out canned food unless the seal was broken on home-canned food or there was a dent or rupture in a store-bought can that left doubts as to whether or not the seal was broken. Today more than half of consumers think canned goods should be discarded after two years or less. I wouldn’t expect anyone to take my word for it so let’s consider a statement by industry experts who say that as long as the container is not damaged, that canned food can last indefinitely. 

Canned food from the 1940s | Library of Congress

Canned food from the 1940s. Photo: Library of Congress

The following quote is from the Canned Food Alliance’s website and can be viewed in its entirety at the link at the end of this post.

“Canned food has a shelf life of at least two years from the date of processing. Canned food retains its safety and nutritional value well beyond two years, but it may have some variation in quality, such as a change of color and texture. Canning is a high-heat process that renders the food commercially sterile. Food safety is not an issue in products kept on the shelf or in the pantry for long periods of time. In fact, canned food has an almost indefinite shelf life at moderate temperatures.  (75 Fahrenheit and below). Canned food as old as 100 years has been found in sunken ships and it is still microbiologically safe! We don’t recommend keeping canned food for 100 years, but if the can is intact, it is edible. Rust or dents do not affect the contents of the can as long as the can does not leak. If the can is leaking, however, or if the ends are bulged, the food should not be used.”

A 1933 display of Richelieu canned goods | iCollector.com 

A 1933 display of Richelieu canned goods. Photo: iCollector.com

Canned foods were salvaged from the shipwrecks Arabia and Bertrand and are on display in the museums along with an unbelievable quantity of cargo intended for stocking stores and homesteads. I visited both museums several years ago on assignment for a magazine article on the cargo. I highly recommend visiting either or both. Thanks to the Internet and sites like Pinterest, photos can now be viewed online for those who do not have the time or resources to travel to the museums.

The Arabia was built in the Pringle boatyard in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, and made its first trip on the river in 1853. It hit a snag and sank in the Missouri River in 1856 fully loaded with supplies. Over the course of time, the river changed course to the point that the steamship and its cargo were sealed off from the air by dry sand until it was discovered in the middle of a cornfield 150 years later. Food found in the cargo included canned pickles, fruit, champagne, etc., which are on display and the owners said they sampled some of the recovered canned food. 

The Bertrand sank on April 1, 1865, while carrying cargo up the Missouri River to Montana Territory. Some half of its cargo was recovered 100 years later and is on display at the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge Museum in Iowa. The museum is within a day’s travel from the Arabia. Recovered canned foods included pepper sauce, bottled fruits, French mustard, brandied cherries, along with whiskey, brandy, etc. 

I can’t say as I’d want to serve any of the food from the steamships, but I’m not going to throw out perfectly good canned food either. 

See also: 

Canned Food Alliance

Arabia Steamboat Museum

Steamboat Bertrand Cargo Collection

What's Hidden in Your Milk

The Historic FoodieHave you ever considered there could be anything other than fresh natural milk in the dairy products you purchase at the market? Artificial growth hormones made their way into our milk supply in 1994 and, with the exception of some organic milk, quickly became standard. (BabyCenter.com) How can this be and more importantly why?

Perhaps it's time to consider other products, such as organic milk or vegan alternatives to dairy. 

Cows injected with recombinant bovine somatropine (rBST) and recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) apparently produce approximately one gallon per day more milk than cows not treated with it – at least for a while.

From a farmer’s perspective, a little research (a few websites are listed at the end of this article) shows that the hormones aren’t good for the cows and they certainly aren’t good for people. Cows have more problems with cystic ovaries and uterine disorders, lower birth weight and shorter periods of gestation, and a greater risk of clinical mastitis (an udder infection) that requires antibiotics to clear up. (BabyCenter.com)

What does such an inflammation mean for our milk supply? “The most obvious symptoms of clinical mastitis are abnormalities in: The udder such as swelling, heat, hardness, redness, or pain; and the milk such as a watery appearance, flakes, clots, or pus.”  (Institute for Responsible Technology) Yes, you read correctly.

Treated cows may begin to have reduced milk yield, increased body temperature, lack of appetite, sunken eyes, diarrhea and dehydration, and reduction in mobility due to pain in the udder or lethargy. Studies also indicate that while the overall protein content in the milk may be unaffected, changes in the types of protein present may be affected by the leaching of low-quality blood serum proteins into the milk. Casein, an important protein, can be significantly reduced and casein is closely linked to calcium levels in the milk. ("Why A2 Milk in the UK?" "Casein: The Disturbing Connection Between This Dairy Protein and Your Health")

Why did Breyers Ice Cream recently announce that it is going to stop making ice cream from milk impregnated with growth hormones due to consumer demand?

Canada, the European Union (some 27 countries), Japan, Australia, and New Zealand have had bans in place on rBGH, yet the U.S. has no restrictions, and Monsanto, the producer of the hormones, filed a lawsuit against a dairy that advertised its milk contained no growth hormones. It seems pointing out that a brand of milk comes from hormone-free cows causes consumers to wonder what is in other brands and how consumption affects them. 

The potential for health endangerment from these dairy products varies greatly from one source to another, and like many situations it comes down to the consumer making an educated decision on whether they’re willing to chance it. A 10-percent increased risk may not send up red flags for a consumer, but my fear is that a 10-percent higher risk with milk combined with a 5- or 10-percent increased risk with another product may add up to a significantly higher risk by the end of the day. 

The American Cancer Society's website downplays the risk of increased levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in milk produced by cows that have received growth hormone, but concludes its report with, “The evidence for potential harm to humans is inconclusive.” They also conclude that the increased use of antibiotics necessary to clear up rBGH induced mastitis in cows does promote the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but the extent of harm in humans is unclear. We’re being told not to over-use antibiotics because it may have the same affect, but it’s OK to pass on antibiotics to our children through the milk they drink? 

What is IGF-1? An elevated content of IGF-1 has been suggested to have adverse implications for human health and cancer frequency. (Institute for Responsible Technology

Milk from rBGH-treated cows does have much higher levels of IGF-1, according to the website of the Institute for Responsible Technology, and puts consumers at “a high risk factor for breast, prostate, colon, lung and other cancers.” They feel that levels of IGF-1 can be up to 10-percent higher than in milk from un-treated cows. Their studies indicated that milk from rBGH-treated cows with increased IGF-1 levels may increase the rate of fraternal twin births in humans. In the U.S., the number of fraternal twins was said to have grown at twice the rate as the UK where rBGH is banned.

Farmers Pledge The Institute for Responsible Technology website notes that after being sued by Monsanto in 2003, Maine’s Oakhurst Dairy’s farmers’ pledge, “No Artificial Growth Hormones,” had a sentence appended stating that, according to the FDA, no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from treated and untreated cows.  

The Institute for Responsible Technology says the studies showed milk from treated cows did contain increased IGF-1 levels and claim further that the additional wording added to the Oakhurst label was written by the FDA's deputy commissioner of policy, Michael Taylor, previously Monsanto's outside attorney who, after running policy at the FDA, became vice president of Monsanto.

updated farmers pledge 

How do these situations come about?  Perhaps because consumers have been too complacent and let big business decide what goes into our food. Doesn’t some agency control the safety of food additives? Let’s look at both sides of the coin.

On Oct. 25, 1998, Phil Angell, director of corporate communications for Monsanto, was quoted by the New York Times Magazine (in an article by Michael Pollan) saying, “Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food … Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job.” The FDA, however, issued this statement, Federal Register, Vol. 57, No. 104 (1992):  “Ultimately, it is the food producer who is responsible for assuring safety.”

Concerned consumers should definitely read the entire Institute for Responsible Technology report for themselves. Be sure to follow the links to fact sheets on rBGH, and to reports from such credible sources as the Oregon Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility. Consider choosing organic milk or look at online lists for brands of dairy from hormone-free cows and the stores that sell them.

Resources:

DairyCo Wales

Prevention.com

Grist

American Cancer Society

Breast Cancer Fund

Institute for Responsible Technology

Twins UK

Baby Center

TED Case Studies

Center for Food Safety

Science Blogs

Organic Valley

Cornell University

Council for Responsible Genetics

Daily Express

WRCB-TV

One Green Planet

British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy

Mother Jones

The Huffington Post

Poultry From the 1871 Exhibition in New Orleans

The Historic FoodieThe week of November 23, 1871 (it was Thursday), the Fifth Grand Exhibition of the Mechanics and Agricultural Fair Association was in progress and the following is the report of poultry published in the New Orleans-based Our Home Journal. Those mentioned in the article were certainly not the only types on exhibition, but comprise what the editor considered the best of the lot. Photos are from my flock.  

One of my young Rouen ducks 

A pair of African geese

African goose 

“POULTRY —The display of poultry was really one of the great attractions of the Fair, and has never been equaled or even approached at any of our previous exhibitions. All, or nearly all, the improved and ‘fancy’ classes were fully represented; and though our notes were copious, we can only mention a few of the most remarkable. These were Light and Dark Brahamas (very fine – especially two trios of the Light variety); Buff, White and Partridge Cochins; Gray Dorkings; Black Spanish; Game fowls of many strains – some quite excellent; Houdans; Creve Cours; White Leghorns; Bantams of various kinds, etc. Also Rouen, Aylesbury, Muscovy and White Crested Ducks; African, Hong Kong and Bremen Geese; Guinea fowls; fancy Pigeons, etc. Some of the finest specimens, and probably the greatest variety of fowls on exhibition, were brought here by a gentleman from Pennsylvania, and not a few were disposed of at prices too fabulous, almost, to mention.”

Our Home Journal, Nov. 25, 1871. 

For an eclectic collection of historical articles like this please see my website.

New Year Gardening Plans

The Historic FoodieI trust everyone had a nice gathering at Christmas, we certainly did. We traveled to Pennsylvania to visit family and enjoyed Christmas day lunch with Martin’s mom at the Lutheran Retirement facility in Hanover. Traveling back and forth from there to our hotel and to visit other family members, we saw more Christmas light displays than I have in years.

We were fortunate to have a friendly and knowledgeable young man, a neighbor, take care of our poultry flock for us. He’s been raised on a farm and probably knows more about how to care for them than we do, and his willingness to help meant the difference in being able to visit with Mom or not. You can’t put a price on that.

No GMONow that tomorrow is the first of 2015 and the seed catalogs are arriving daily, I am devouring them page by page and item by item. I want heritage, open pollinated, non-GMO seed, and the best way to do that is to purchase from a company that carries only those types of seeds. I’m getting what I feel good about planting, and I am supporting a small company that is dedicated to preserving heritage seeds. As the Monsanto GMO monster grows, the work done by small heritage seed companies must not go unnoticed or unrewarded.

I’ve highlighted in the Sow True Seed catalog until it looks like a neon marker exploded. I am looking seriously at vegetables that can naturally tolerate heat and humidity, that are vigorous producers, and as disease and pest resistant as I can find. I’m not looking for exotics to experiment with at this point – I simply want the best quality in basic vegetables and I found that with Sow True Seed.

Sow True Seed 2015 catalog cover art by Beatriz Mendoza | SowTrueSeed.com

The 2015 Sow True Seed catalog cover, art by Beatriz Mendoza. Courtesy SowTrueSeed.com

Our property had not been maintained as well as it might have been for some time prior to us buying it because the previous owner was not well and has since passed away. We have a huge insect, worm and caterpillar problem, enough so that aside from pears, figs and a few blueberries, the fruit from last year never made it to the table, and my cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower look like Swiss cheese due to cabbage looper damage. By choosing wisely, I hope for success under these less than desirable conditions with spring planting.

perennial onionI’ve ordered some perennials that should mean a harvest for years to come – asparagus, Jerusalem artichoke, Egyptian walking onion (at left) and shallots, and I’m considering lovage for soups and salads. Martin bought me a book on perennial vegetables for Christmas that is motivating me and I can’t take my nose out of it. I’ve also been inspired by another he gave me, Jessi Bloom’s “Free-Range Chicken Gardens.”

From Sow True Seeds I’m considering Arkansas Little Leaf pickling cucumber (I’m a little intrigued by the Mexican Sour Gherkin), Slow Bolt Arugula, Upland Creasy Greens, Southern Giant Curled Mustard, White Vienna Kohlrabi, Jericho and Parris Island Romaine lettuce, Clemson Spineless okra, Seminole Pumpkin, Purple Top White Globe turnip, and various and sundry herbs. I won’t plant all of these at once, but will decide which I want most and as one crop is harvested, replace it with another. I’ll be doing a little pest-free indoor gardening with sprouts from Sow True.

cabbage worm, photo from Old Farmer AlmanacI will be fertilizing vigorously, using my poultry flock to help control the pests, and I will spray the fruit trees and grapes so hopefully some of them end up on the table this year. I’m going to do serious battle with the cabbage worms, aphids and grasshoppers. Be Gone, Evil Bugs, I lay claim to these acres!

Food Waste to Feed Poultry

The Historic FoodieHow big a problem is food waste in the U.S.? The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture estimates 10 percent of the available food supply is wasted at the retail level, and 20 pecent of what is purchased is wasted in the home. To put that into perspective, more than $160 billion worth of food is wasted every year in America.

My post, Fruits and Vegetables: Pretty Isn't Always Better, covered donations of food to food banks, shelters and individuals, and this one follows up with a discussion of donations to small farmers for feeding livestock. The best known example, and perhaps the largest such operation in the world, is Bob Combs, a pig farmer who feeds his pigs food waste from Las Vegas hotels, but for this post we will limit our interest to small poultry flocks.  

I’ve had people express frustration at restaurants and stores that refuse to donate scrap or surplus produce to feed chickens and other poultry, citing restrictions from the health department as their reason for not doing so. I began an investigation to find out what, if any, restrictions or guidelines there are concerning donating scrap/surplus food for feeding backyard or small farm poultry.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations state, “If surplus food provided to animals contains no meat or animal materials, federal laws or regulations do not apply, although there may be state laws that regulate such feeding.”

The EPA website says one should “contact the county agricultural extension office, state veterinarian, or county health department to find out about specific state regulations” when asking for or considering donating produce to local farmers.

They also say facilities that do choose to donate such waste may qualify for a tax deduction or at least see smaller expenditures in disposing of such food by donating it rather than sending it to a landfill.

Their instructions make it sound simple – pick up the phone make a couple of calls and you’re done, but it isn’t that simple. Each state’s Department of Public Health is made up of multiple bureaus, multiple divisions and hundreds of individuals. There isn’t one magic number one can call to get information from Public Health. The first hurdle is deciding what bureau and division to call, and second is realizing that not every individual has the answer to all requests for information. Be prepared to keep calling until you get someone on the phone who can provide the information you seek.

food scraps | Fotolia/claireliz 

Photo: Fotolia/claireliz

I have worked for Public Health, and it still required diligent research to determine which bureau, if any, would govern the donation or acceptance of such produce. The Office of Food, Milk, and Lodging (responsible for restaurant inspections) knew of no restrictions and referred me to the Meat Inspector with the Department of Agriculture and Industries.

I phoned that office and posed the question and was told there were no known regulations/restrictions, but my question was referred to a department supervisor for verification. I did not hear anything further.

No one at my county extension office could offer me any answers, but they did refer me to the regional extension agent for food safety who provided a pamphlet from the state cooperative extension service on basic feeding for chickens. The pamphlet did not address the subject of this post. Upon further questioning, she said she was 95 percent sure there were no regulations regarding the disposal of produce from restaurants. She then referred me to the county environmentalist.

I searched to find our state veterinarian and inquired of him via email whether or not there are any regulations or restrictions that might prevent a facility from making such a donation. I did not receive a reply. Auburn University’s School of Poultry Science was also contacted.

After contacting every office that could possibly supply information on laws, restrictions or guidelines on the donation of, or acceptance of, food scraps for backyard poultry, one must conclude that there are none. Neither the environmental people nor the meat inspectors, who I was told would be the “go to” source for such information, offered any reason for not donating or accepting food waste for poultry flocks. That still leaves business owners the option of complying with such a request, or not, as they choose, but their choice is their own and is not based on any health guidelines, at least not in my state.  

Resources:
Follow this link to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “Food Donation.  A Restaurateur’s Guide.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s report.

A list of state animal health officials for all states, 2014.