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“Modernizing” Poultry Inspections Undermines Food Safety Standards

August 01, 2014
Center for Food Safety

Center for Food Safety today criticized the final rule issued by the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) that purportedly “modernizes” poultry inspection at slaughterhouses. The final rule did not include a controversial proposal to allow faster line speeds, but does privatize food safety inspectors.

“In an attempt to 'modernize' poultry inspection, FSIS is taking us back to the days of Upton Sinclair. Congress passed the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 to ensure that food safety standards are not undermined in the race for corporate profit,” said Paige Tomaselli, senior staff attorney at Center for Food Safety. “Asking companies to once again police themselves is a recipe for food poisoning.”

The final rule does not include a controversial proposal to increase the line speed from 140 to 175 birds per minute. Under the final rule, inspectors will still need to examine more than two birds per second to eliminate diseased birds. U.S. Department of Agriculture expects to save $30 million per year by ordering slaughterhouse's to hire private inspectors.

“USDA has built a conflict of interest which will inevitably lead to more food borne illness. No worker can satisfactory inspect more than two birds per second. Expecting an employee to be paid by the company she is supposed to be inspecting creates and unbearable problem,” added Tomaselli.

 

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