US senator critises new poultry inspection pr...

US senator critises new poultry inspection procedures

A Government Accountability Report scheduled to be released 4 September states the US Department of Agriculture used old data to support its plan to change poultry inspection procedures.

US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand requested the GAO report. She has been critical of USDA's plan that would allow poultry processing plants to increase line speeds and replace some government inspectors with company employees.

USDA has said the new inspection procedures would improve food safety and save the federal government more than $90 mill. over three years. The overhaul also would reduce industry's production costs by at least $256 mill. per year mostly through increased line speeds.

But the GAO report says USDA used information collected from plants more than 11 years ago, and the report criticised the agency for applying the information to turkey plants. While industry has applauded the new procedures, the new inspection procedures have been met with protests. A coalition of civil-rights groups filed a formal petition asking the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and USDA to issue new work-speed standards to protect workers at meat and poultry processors.
Source: US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand