Would you like Salmonella with your chicken? If you agree the idea of having the pathogen as a side dish is absurd, it is, and you should be outraged.
Lawmakers are not only cutting funding for meat and poultry inspection but are also urging the USDA to go ahead with its shocking proposal that will allow plants to speed up the already fast processing lines from 70-140 birds a minute to 175. That means inspectors have only one third of a second to inspect a chicken carcass for defects and fecal contamination before sending them out to a grocery store near you. What can you do in one third of a second? Blink? Smile? Definitely not inspecting a chicken.
The dirty chicken rule also will allow plants to police themselves by replacing nearly 1,000 federal inspectors with plant workers who are not even required to be trained in their new duties. One federal inspector would remain on the line, but most of the inspection will be done by in-house workers whose turnover is already shockingly high as workers are intimidated by the speed of the processing line. Some reportedly fled after working for only an hour, and this was before USDA decided to make it even faster. The Government Accountability Office also found several fatal flaws in USDA’s data and analysis that led to the proposal.
AFGE and other worker and food safety groups this week sent a letter to House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development and Food and Drug Administration, calling on Congress to kill the dirty chicken proposal and restore the budget cut of $11.73 million.
“The government’s main concern should be public safety, not the meat industry’s bottom line,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.