A proposed rule that would give the poultry industry the authority to inspect its own birds at record speed for safety and health issues during slaughter is receiving major backlash from industry watchdog group, the Center for Food Safety.
Currently, each USDA safety inspector assigned to slaughter lines has to evaluate as many as 35 birds per minute, but under the new rule, that number would go up five times to 175 birds per minute, which, says the Center for Food Safety, are "alarmingly high rates" that could make inspectors less effective at maintaining quality standards.
The Center for Food Safety also says that the industry-regulated proposed rule could lead to the removal of human inspectors on the line altogether, resulting in the use of more chemicals and antibiotics in order to prevent the spread of disease and infection.
In a statement release by the Center for Food Safety, the organization says, "The agency [USDA] readily admits that the poultry industry will stand to earn an additional $260 million per year by removing the cap on line speeds, and the rule does not require that company employees receive any training or prove proficiency in performing duties normally performed by government inspectors who are required to take training before they are assigned to the slaughter line. By unleashing higher line speeds, this proposed rule furthers the industrialization of the food supply—and the profits of large producers—at the expense of increased risk to human health, animal welfare, and worker safety."
The organization is calling on consumers to petition the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service and tell them to reject the rule by May 29th.
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger