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Ear to the Ground

Proposed Rules: You Lose, Poultry Industry Wins

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Posted on Apr 5, 2012
Farm Sanctuary (CC-BY)

And you thought pink slime was bad: The Obama administration is proposing to fire USDA inspectors and let the poultry industry inspect its own slaughterhouse lines—while simultaneously speeding up the kill line.

The USDA says the new rules would save taxpayer money, as much as $95 million over three years via the elimination of 800 inspector positions. Meanwhile, the poultry industry would save something like a quarter of a billion dollars by ramping up the kill line, all while supposedly improving the safety of the food it produces.

If you have any reservations about that last claim, confirm your fears by reading on below, especially the last paragraph. But do it within reach of a trash can. The public has until April 26 to comment on the program, which could be implemented as soon as October. —ARK

Mother Jones:

But Food & Water Watch’s investigation of the USDA’s longtime pilot program to test the new procedures casts serious doubt on the food safety claim. Using the Freedom of Information Act, FWW obtained inspection documents from slaughterhouses in the pilot program for the first eight months of 2011. The reports relate to the 20 to 80 randomly selected birds the USDA inspectors looked at during each shift to check up on company-hired inspectors. The results, from FWW’s summary, make pink slime look downright appetizing:

Company employees miss many defects in poultry carcasses. The inspection category that had the highest error rate was ‘Other Consumer Protection 4’ for dressing defects such as feathers, lungs, oil glands, trachea and bile still on the carcass. The average error rate for this category in the chicken slaughter facilities was 64 percent and 87 percent in turkey slaughter facilities. In one turkey slaughter facility, nearly 100 percent of samples found this category of defect.

In the period from March to August 2011, 90 percent of the defects found by the USDA inspectors involved “visible fecal contamination that was missed by company employees.” One inspector’s report contained this unsettling anecdote:

I observed a section of intestine wrapped around the rotating paddles in the neck chiller. The intestine was approximately 1 1/2 feet in length, contained fecal material. Additionally, numerous other pieces [of] digestive tract materials, such as chicken crops and esophagus were also observed in the neck chiller…This regulatory noncompliance would potentially allow for the cross contamination of necks by digestive contents material such as ingesta and/or feces.

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By oregoncharles, April 6, 2012 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

Just one more small proof of how crooked and Conservative this administration really is.

And Scheer wants us to vote for Obama again?  Only a sucker would do that.

The alternative:  http://www.jillstein.org.

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By Jaded Prole, April 6, 2012 at 3:21 am Link to this comment

Clinton did the same thing with the Beef industry and the USDA. Obama has also further deregulated Wall Street as well as legislating the greatest expansion of the police state and the power or the Executive in History. Robert Scheer may vote for him by default but I will not. Unless a better alternative appears, I will vote for Stewart Alexander, the Socialist candidate. I know he won’t win but a lame duck Obama is as dangerous as Mitt Romney and I can’t support either. In any case, Wall Street will place the next national CEO in office, not you or I.

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By Clash, April 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm Link to this comment

It’s a damn good thing we don’t rely on food from the corporate state run factory killing machines, bon apetit.

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By prisnersdilema, April 5, 2012 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

Still think we have a Democrat in the White House? One who is the lesser of two evils?
This is a Republican move if ever there was one. It’s a good time to give up chicken.
Anyway radiation contamination concentrates up the food chain, so its a good time to
consider vegetarianism, to avoid, those nasty radiation induced cancers in you and your
children.

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