Dr.Celeste Monforton, a health and safety expert who writes at The Pump Handle, a health and safety blog, wrote a superb post last week that expresses disbelief at the USDA’s insistence – in the face of extensive and contradictory evidence – that the poultry rule will improve food safety.
Dr. Monforton lists all of the evidence that has piled up over the last 18 months as to why the poultry rule would be unsafe for workers, our food, and our communities, including:
- A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which stated that the USDA had insufficient evidence to support the rule.
- Legislation introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) that would stop the rule and force the USDA to collect satisfactory evidence that would support the USDA’s contention that the rule would make our food safer.
- A rulemaking petition submitted to OSHA and the USDA by Nebraska Appleseed, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and 13 other civil rights organizations that asked for the USDA to withdraw the poultry rule and create a safe standard that would adequately protect poultry and meatpacking workers.
- The recent, excellent reporting from Kimberly Kindy at the Washington Post, who has spent months scrutinizing the poultry rule (Story 1, Story 2, Story 3).
As we have stated in our rulemaking petition, increasing production line speeds to a staggering 175 birds per minute and giving workers one-third of a second to look for fecal contamination, bile, diseases, tumors, feathers, intestines, and any other defects would greatly jeopardize our food safety and also exacerbate the already serious risk of crippling injuries to poultry workers.