New Rule: USDA Safety Inspection Officials Have No Power Over Poultry

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“LA, LA, LA, LA, LA, I’m not listening!” This has got to be my biggest pet peeve as a vegan! Meet your meat! Don’t be ignorant about your health!

“The system is nearing a breaking point.” If you think the USDA is looking out for your safety, think again!

As a vegan, I don’t eat animal products so why am I concerned about this? I am concerned for my family and friends who eat meat and who believe that there is a  higher regulatory power looking out for their welfare. How can I convince them that the USDA doesn’t care about their safety and isn’t interested in quality over quantity? By not ignoring these issues just because they don’t directly pertain to me! Today’s focus is on a current issue that directly jeopardizes consumer health: The revised “Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection” rule and it’s unintended consequences.

Many people know that factory farming is horrendous, but continue to eat beef, pork, and chicken anyway. I’ve posted before about the dangers of eating fish, and today I’m going to give you more reasons to avoid meat and dairy. For those who believe chicken is healthy, here’s a fun fact: The USDA currently allows a maximum of 140 birds per minute on inspection lines!* How well could you inspect 140 birds in 60 seconds? (That’s 2.3 bird carcasses per second!)

“Dayna Coonce, a 30-year USDA meat inspector in Missouri, is so concerned about the new rule she said: ‘I’m telling my friends to quit eating chicken after it goes into effect.'”**

Source: farmsanctuary.org

Source: farmsanctuary.org

 What is the new poultry rule?

In an attempt to reduce the manpower necessary to conduct surface inspections of poultry in processing factories, a revised version of the Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection was published by the USDA in late July 2014. The new rule is intended to focus safety inspection on preventative measures to prevent food-borne illnesses. This includes requiring poultry plants to conduct additional microbial testing for bacteria and establishing a New Poultry Inspection System, which is optional. * The rule goes into effect in October 24, this year.

Why does this matter? 

  • Fewer USDA inspectors. The new rule removes 600 federal inspector positions and allows for more self-policing by the poultry companies. Remaining federal inspectors will be tasked to do less physical inspecting and more microbiological sampling of poultry. **
  • Conflicts of interest. Self-regulation in an industry focused on profits NEVER works. Time and time again this occurs, with terrible results: tobacco industry, junk food industry, advertisement industry!
  • Useless testing. The USDA does not have the legal power to prevent poultry that is contaminated with salmonella from entering the food supply, the products cannot even be recalled until the USDA declares salmonella an adulterant under the Federal Meat Inspection Law. ** Enough people have to be sickened, or die first!  The National Chicken Council’s head of scientific and regulatory affairs also acknowledged that the rule allows poultry companies to keep the results of these tests secret from consumers. **
  • No benefits to the consumer. The poultry industry benefits from having less federal watchdogs and no repercussions from tainted meat and the USDA saves millions of dollars by cutting back on employees. The consumer is left to fend for himself! The person inspecting his meat is being paid by the poultry company and tainted chicken is still allowed into the supermarket!

“Bottom line, we don’t regulate the meat companies; they regulate us.” **

Source: foodsafetynews.com

Source: foodsafetynews.com

Sources:

*Zuraw, Lydia. Food Safety News: “Reactions Vary to USDA’s Poultry Inspection Rule”, Aug. 1, 2014.

** McGraw, Mike. The Kansas City Star: “USDA criticized for new rules, shortage of meat inspectors”, Sept. 5, 2014.

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