Last week, we wrote about our concerns with the proposed new USDA rule for poultry processing. The new rule would drastically increase the speeds on the production line at which plants are allowed to run, which would make an already dangerous workplace even more unsafe. It would give inspectors only one-third of a second to inspect birds for diseases and other contaminants, creating a great danger to the safety of the food you’ll end up eating.
The rule also reduces the authority of Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) inspectors – government employees, often veterinarians, whose job it is to make sure the plant is following guidelines to keep the animals they process free of disease or harmful bacteria like E. coli. The new rule allows the plant to replace most of those inspectors with their own employees, who ultimately are held accountable to the plant’s management, not the USDA.
Recently, a former FSIS inspector and poultry plant employee came forward with her thoughts on this new rule. Phyllis McKelvey worked in poultry processing for 44 years, and she worked in an Alabama plant where this new rule has been in effect as part of a pilot program for the last 10 years. She has seen up close the dangers these relaxed standards pose to the food you eat and the workers who process it.
We encourage you to read the entire article, but one frightening quote from Ms. McKelvey sticks out:
“We’re moving back in time 100 years,” Phyllis said.
“If the general public knew what was going on, I think they would protest.”
The USDA needs to hear from you and know that plants cannot afford to take shortcuts with the safety of our food supply. Click here and take action to tell our elected officials not to allow this dangerous USDA poultry rule to be passed. You can also sign Phyllis’ petition at Change.org.
We all want a strong and sustainable meat and poultry industry that places the highest emphasis on keeping our food free from disease and providing a safe, dignified workplace for workers.