The US chicken industry has attacked the Environment Protection Agency over its decision to deny Texas Governor Pick Perry's request for a partial waver on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) targets.

Commenting on the move, Pilgrim's Pride president and CEO Clint Rivers said: "The RFS has caused feed ingredient prices to spiral out of control, inflicting extreme economic damage on food companies, and ultimately, on consumers, in the form of increased food costs."

Pilgrim's Pride has estimated that its feed ingredients costs for fiscal 2008 will increase by US$900m. The company said that the rising costs were a result of the US government's "failed" ethanol policy.

"It's apparent that the government intends to blindly pursue this misguided and destructive policy despite reams of data demonstrating its negative impact on the environment, food prices, and world hunger," Rivers said.

Meanwhile, the National Chicken Council (NCC) said that it was "deeply disappointed" by the news.

"When food prices are rising and chicken companies are losing money because of high feed costs, it is outrageous that the federal government continues to require and even to subsidise the diversion of corn from the food supply into the fuel supply," NCC president George Watts said.

Watts called on Congress to intervene and reform the ethanol programme. 

"Congress created this mess and Congress ought to fix it," he said.

The NCC has estimated that higher feed prices has cost the broiler industry more than $6bn since October 2006.