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USDA Releases Final Rule to Privatize Poultry Inspection

USDA Releases Final Rule to Privatize Poultry Inspection

This post originally appeared on EcoWatch.

This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released theáfinal rule on a new inspection system for poultry products. The system will transfer a majority of poultry inspections from government inspectors to self-policing by the companies themselves.

While Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the new system “places our trained inspectors where they can better ensure food is being processed safely,”áFood & Water Watch Executive DirectoráWenonah Hauter counters that “the one USDA inspector left on the slaughter line under this new rule will still have to inspect 2.33 birds every secondľan impossible task that leaves consumers at risk.”

The new regulations were first proposed in January 2012 but delayed after receiving strong opposition from animal welfare groups, consumer organizations and worker safety advocates. In 2013 the Government Accountability Office released aáscathing analysis, questioning whether USDA had sufficient data to make such radical changes.

USDA received more than 175,000 public comments, mostly opposed to the proposal. There have also been petitions andáseveral congressional letters sent to USDA and the White Houseáurging the withdrawal of the rule.

“The fast turnaround on this rule does a disservice to consumers and workers in poultry plants,” said Hauter. “Rather than making the contents of a revised rule public and creating a new comment period, the USDA and the White House are making a dramatic change to how poultry is inspected based on incomplete data and limited public review.”

Groups express concern that the deregulation of poultry processing will lead to theádismantling of the meat inspection system as we know.

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

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149 comments

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6:11AM PDT on Aug 15, 2014

Folks, this is really bad. Industry policing itself? Yeah, sure (rolling eyes). We've seen how well that works. And let's not forget the poor chickens who will be more tortured and abused than ever. Boycott the whole ugly system and adopt an organic plant-based diet. It's the only way to protect yourself and your family. There is power in your fork - use it!

9:55AM PDT on Aug 9, 2014

Dale O.: You can't.

7:38AM PDT on Aug 8, 2014

I can understand the using of food as exports over fossil fuels. Oil is disastrous as a product when cleaner and safer alternatives are available to be used by everyone. Coal is a losing project, sorry coal miners, since the main customer China for coal or oil or food is changing. Coal use will be converted by the year 2020 per the Chinese as example. They have over built construction of high rise buildings by the city and not just one or two. Those mass amount of building high rises are empty. Think in this country of the empty buildings going unused. Power sources to run those buildings will not be needed. In other words, China is in a bubble of economic woes. Who will buy all our fossil fuels that we destroy OUR lands to provide. We can use this for farming, proper farming, of ALL foods and animals. If we step back and take a look at all things, everybody destroys for greed, and at the risk of human life and lives. On food, nobody segregates food going for consumption here or elsewhere. We get what they get, or it will be more and more that way. They must be stopped now.

5:28AM PDT on Aug 8, 2014

time for me to finish the shift to a whole food plant based diet, I wouldn't trust the industry to police itself as far as I could throw an entire factory farm... I'd rather risk my health with doritos.

4:59PM PDT on Aug 7, 2014

Thank you for sharing..

8:41PM PDT on Aug 6, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

6:29PM PDT on Aug 6, 2014

"The system will transfer a majority of poultry inspections from government inspectors to self-policing by the companies themselves."

How can one trust for profit corporate industries to self police? That is a joke and will result in disaster for the consumer. Corporations are only interested in maximizing profit and the government needs more government inspectors, not less. Just as handing prisons over to the For Profit Prison Industry is another disaster in the making, so it letting big agriculture self police itself. The government should insist on video cameras inside these industries 24/7, with increased regulation. Letting the industry police itself? Shaking my head in bewilderment. Many people just avoid factory farming and get their sources of poultry and meat from small farmers that avoid using antibiotics, growth hormones, GMO feed and all of the other nasty sides involved in factory farming.

What next, sell all government regulatory agencies to the highest corporate bidder?

2:59PM PDT on Aug 6, 2014

Noted

2:22PM PDT on Aug 5, 2014

Big agribusinesses policing themselves. Yeah, we all know how well that works.

4:59AM PDT on Aug 5, 2014

Ty

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