Consumer Advocates and Food Safety Inspectors Tell Christie Vilsack to Oppose Privatized Poultry Inspection PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Matt Ohloff   
Tuesday, 01 May 2012 08:53

On Tuesday, May 1, a rally will be held outside the Ames campaign headquarters of Democratic Congressional Candidate Christie Vilsack to demand that she stands up for food safety and oppose the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposed privatized poultry inspection program. The proposal has received widespread public criticism and national media attention including an April 18th ABC World News investigation that led the USDA to extend the public comment period until May 26.

Who: Food & Water Watch and the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Local Unions

What: Rally to oppose the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposed privatized poultry inspection program.

Where: Outside Christie Vilsack’s campaign headquarters:  600 5th Street, Ames, Iowa 50010

When: Tuesday, May 1, at 9:00 a.m.

Speakers: Trent Berhow, Vice Chair of National Joint Council of Food Inspection Local Unions; Matt Ohloff, Iowa Organizer for Food & Water Watch; other speakers TBD.

Background:

Food & Water Watch released an analysis of the USDA’s HACCP-based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) that reveals large numbers of defects are routinely being missed when inspection tasks are performed by company employees instead of USDA inspectors.

The USDA has been running the pilot project with privatized inspection in two-dozen slaughter facilities since 1998. USDA is proposing an expansion of the pilot to all poultry slaughter plants, and forecasts that over three years this change will save $90 million through the elimination over 800 inspector positions. And, since most poultry plants will be able to increase their production line speeds to 175 birds per minute, the industry expects to save an estimated $256.6 million in production costs.

Poultry plants involved in the HIMP pilot have been granted line speed waivers. Some plants in the pilot have operated at line speeds upwards of 200 birds per minute, compared to 35 birds per minute for which each USDA inspector is responsible for in plants receiving conventional inspection.

More information on Food & Water Watch's analysis can be found here: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/pressreleases/privatized-meat-inspection-experiment-jeopardizes-food-safety/

Food & Water Watch is a non-profit organization working with grassroots organizations around the world to create an economically and environmentally viable future.  Through research, public and policymaker education, media, and lobbying, we advocate policies that guarantee safe, wholesome food produced in a humane and sustainable manner and public, rather than private, control of water resources including oceans, rivers, and groundwater. For more information, visit www.foodandwaterwatch.org.

 

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