AFGE endorsed a bill introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), and Earl Blumenauer (D-Org.) that would improve food safety for the American public.
Specifically, the Industrial Agriculture Accountability Act would:
- increase funding for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to hire and train more inspectors to ensure food safety
- prohibit certain harmful drugs from being administered to the animals prior to slaughter and allow food inspectors to test for hazardous drugs given to animals before slaughter
- end dangerous high-speed slaughter lines and self-inspection system by plant employees whose primary focus is on ensuring swift mass production
- provide additional funding to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Paula Schelling-Soldner, chair of the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals representing FSIS workers nationwide, Daryl Laurie, president National Council of Field Labor Locals representing Department of Labor employees nationwide, and LaRhonda Gamble, president AFGE Local 12 representing DOL Headquarters employees, recently wrote a letter to Sen. Booker and Rep. McGovern thanking them for introducing this important bill.
“FSIS is drastically understaffed, and we support Section 334 to provide additional funding for inspectors,” they wrote. “It is time to put the safety of American consumers above the profits of the big food processing companies. Additional inspectors, combined with better training and giving food inspectors the tools they need, will help ensure that the food on American tables is safe for consumption.”
AFGE, which represents more than 6,500 federal food inspectors nationwide, has been outspoken against dangerous line speeds and the slaughterhouses’ self-inspection programs that replace federal inspectors with their own employees.