AFGE Calls on Congress to Stop Dirty Pork Rule Following Massive Recall

Categories: The Insider

A pork company got caught producing pork without federal inspection, resulting in a massive recall of 515,000 pounds of pork. The administration, however, is in the middle of giving pork producers even more leeway with its new pork inspection rule, which takes effect Dec. 2 – just in time for the holidays.

According to the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), Morris Meat Packing in Maywood, Illinois, produced various raw pork products outside of inspection hours. The products were produced on Saturdays from November 25, 2017 to November 9, 2019. The problem was discovered when the agency received an anonymous tip that the firm was producing products without inspection.

“FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers’ refrigerators or freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase,” the agency said in a press release on the recall, which is classified as Class I, the most serious situation that could result in serious adverse health consequences or death.

The recall came amid a lawsuit and serious safety concerns over the Trump administration’s new food safety inspection rule that will allow slaughterhouses, not independent federal inspectors, to be responsible for inspecting most of their own pork.

High-speed pork inspection plants have had a number of health and safety violations. According to one report, 3 out of 4 pork samples contaminated with feces, bile, hair, and toenails were from these high-speed slaughterhouses. While government inspectors are highly specialized, the final rule doesn’t include any training requirements for the meat company employees who will take over the inspection responsibilities.

Adding to the miserable picture, the administration has also lifted the line speed restrictions to allow slaughterhouses to process as many pork products as they’d like to increase profits, raising safety concerns for workers and consumers alike.

Our union worked with members of Congress to include a provision in the House Agriculture Appropriations bill that would halt this dirty pork rule until the Department of Agriculture's inspector general has studied the data used to create the new rule. The bill passed the House but has to be agreed to by the Senate.

Call Congress and urge them to stop the dirty pork rule by keeping Section 779 in the final funding bill.

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