Media, Consumers Pressure USDA to Rethink Doo Doo Chicken
By Walker Foley
The USDA wants to cut back on federal food inspectors and let company employees take responsibility for monitoring poultry slaughter lines at private plants. FSIS administrator Alfred Almanza talks a lot about how the plants should be modernized to increase safety standards, but when you read the affidavits released by actual plant inspectors here, here, and here it’s hard to believe that this proposal will do anything to make our food supply safer. The affidavits are a clear warning to consumers of what is to come if the USDA extends the program to all poultry facilities nationwide. Many of the complaints in the affidavits stem from a lack of training, less thorough carcass examinations, and, among numerous other faults, increased line speeds. Imagine trying to carefully inspect 200 birds flying past you in a minute.
If only Upton Sinclair were still around to weigh in. Fortunately media outlets like ABC, The New York Times and others have stepped up to report on consumer health and worker safety concerns. Here’s Jim Avila’s report.
Yes, you heard him right. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service extended the public comment period due to the public outrage. Tomorrow, Food & Water Watch will join inspectors, other consumer advocates and concerned citizens in delivering more than 150,000 signatures collected opposing the plan, but more are needed. The new comment period will close on May 26, so if you haven’t already, please take a moment and write. Because who wants to eat breast blisters, fecal matter, and cancerous tumors?