The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is proposing to implement a new rule that will change the poultry inspection process, making it easier to allow unsavory and potentially unsafe chicken onto our plates.
As a mother of three, grandmother of eight, and a woman who has worked in the poultry industry for 44 years, I feel it’s my obligation to warn you about the chicken and turkey you and your family are likely eating. I have dedicated my professional life to protecting the integrity of the nation’s food supply and I believe the USDA’s plan to decrease poultry inspection and increase line speed is bad for consumers and poultry plant workers. I will fight tooth and nail to stop the USDA from moving forward with its proposal.
I know a lot about this new inspection plan. Before I retired in 2010, I worked in a poultry plant that was part of a pilot poultry inspection program called “HIMP.” Recently, I discovered that the USDA intends to implement the pilot program nationally. I can tell you, and so can anyone else who has worked in these plants, that the new poultry inspection plan will be a total nightmare.
The model not only reduces the number of USDA inspectors, but it also increases line speeds to the point where inspectors are only allotted 1/3 of a second to view chicken. Turkey is no exception, with inspection line speeds increasing up to 70%. Inspectors can no longer see all parts of the bird, which causes them to overlook contaminated chicken and turkey with lesions, bruises, and tumors.
Even fecal matter can get by inspectors. When inspectors do see these things, they are often not allowed to stop the line. The USDA is out of touch – Americans don’t want to eat scabs, pus, and sores. But that’s what will happen if this model is implemented.
The jobs that highly trained inspectors once did are now handed over to untrained workers at the poultry plant. The workers don’t have the power to question their supervisors. The overwhelming speeds of the lines result in more worker injuries.
The industry’s only concern is moving birds down the line – workers’ concerns don’t matter much. With no oversight, consumers are left eating chicken covered in scabs, feces, or bile.
I know this new proposal will have disastrous impacts on food and worker safety. Tell USDA to do its job to protect food and worker safety by rejecting this proposal before it’s too late!
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