Washington, DC – Late yesterday, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) revealed that they approved a regulatory waiver request to privatize beef slaughter inspection at the Tyson plant located in Holcomb, Kansas. Food & Water Action first learned of the scheme several months ago through a response to a Freedom of Information Act request, but the agency refused to confirm until now.
In response, Tony Corbo, Sr. Government Affairs Representative for Food & Water Action issued the following statement:
“As FSIS is struggling to keep plants properly staffed and inspectors properly protected during the COVID-19 crisis, it somehow found time to pull out the stops for industry. Where are their priorities?
“The agency is experimenting with the safety of our food, and they’re doing it behind the back of American consumers through an obscure regulatory waiver process. We’re looking at a process that does not require public notice and comment. Even worse, the results of this experiment will never even be shared with the public.
“Over the years, FSIS has granted multiple waiver requests to the meat and poultry industries. FSIS has abused this process and we call on the Congress as it considers FSIS FY 2021 budget request to put a halt to it.”