Today, Food & Water Watch sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture demanding the agency conduct a re-evaluation of the Australian Export Meat Inspection System and stop similar privatized meat inspection models in this country.
The group also requested information still pending in a Freedom of Information Act filed nearly eighteen months ago on May 8, 2018.
“The USDA’s pet project in Australia has backfired and proven that private meat inspection does not work,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “Higher numbers of contaminated meat and a shift back to full government inspection in Australia condemn efforts to “modernize beef slaughter inspection” here in the U.S.”
In 2011, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) approved meat imports from Australia by deeming Australia’s private meat inspection system “equivalent” to plant inspection in the United States. However, as Australia has continued to experiment with privatized inspection, the quality of its meat inspection faltered and unusually high numbers emerged of meat contaminated with visible fecal and ingesta matter arose.
We recently received information indicating that a substantial number of Australian slaughter facilities that used the privatized inspection model have opted to revert back to full government inspection. There has been a 32 percent increase in the number of plants that use the full complement of government inspectors, making traditional inspection the predominant model in Australia.
The Australian meat inspection system was categorized as “equivalent” to those systems in the U.S. and is regarded by FSIS as a model project. FSIS must stop efforts to “modernize beef slaughter inspection,” also known as privatized inspection because its “model project” in Australia is showing signs of unraveling.
Contact: Jackie Filson, [email protected], 202-683-2538