17 October 2019

USDA will now allow slaughterhouses to self-police

What could go wrong?
A new rule, finalized today, would reduce the number of government food safety inspectors in pork plants by 40 percent and remove most of the remaining inspectors from production lines. In their place, a smaller number of company employees — who are not required to receive any training — would conduct the “sorting” tasks that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) previously referred to as “inspection.” The rule would also allow companies to design their own microbiological testing programs to measure food safety rather than requiring companies to meet the same standard.

Equally alarming, the new rule would remove all line speed limits in the plants, allowing companies to speed up their lines with abandon. With fewer government inspectors on the slaughter lines, there would be fewer trained workers watching out for consumer safety. Faster line speeds would make it harder for the limited number of remaining meat inspectors and plant workers to do their jobs...

It’s not only consumers of meat who would pay a price for this misguided and dangerous new rule. There are more than 90,000 pork slaughterhouse workers whose health and limbs are already at risk under the current line speed limit of 1,106 hogs per hour. Pork slaughterhouse workers will tell you that they can barely keep up with current line speeds. They work in noisy, slippery workplaces with large knives, hooks and bandsaws, making tens of thousands of forceful repetitive motions on each and every shift to cut and break down the hogs.

The USDA is ignoring three decades of studies indicating that faster line speeds and the forceful nature of the work in meatpacking plants are the root causes of a staggeringly high rate of work-related injuries and illnesses.
Continued at The Hill.


  1. Sadly, most Americans are so separated from their food sources that they cannot fathom what is happening. If they were to witness the conditions and speed of these processes I can't help but believe that they'd be shocked.

  2. That's one reason I don't eat meat.

  3. What could go wrong ?
    New Zealand has a 'Clean, Green' adjective showing on bear every tourist advertisement we put out.
    However, come down to grass root level and you'll find some of the farm workers mistreating the animals, throwing baby boy cattle across the concrete environs of the loading yard, kicking any slow moving pig or sheep. Pay peanuts and you get low life, low intelligence workers, but the problem is they're not paid peanuts, half these guys own the farm and drive new RangeRovers and the like.
    The real pigs are the ones wearing the rubber boots.

    I spend my life in a mental purgatory, feeling for the animals that await a hideous slaughter yet feeding my array of cats meat from those very same animals, making it an act of pomposity (is that the right word ?) for me to offer disparaging comments about the meat industry.

    Suffice to say it is offal.

    (there is always a place for humour)

  4. Then we pay for the drugs for the illnesses we get through contamination, and for the more exotic drugs to counteract the immunity we've developed to the more pedestrian drugs they already pump into our meat.

    The circle of... profit.


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