In less than two months, dirty pork is coming to a grocery store near you – unless we stop it.
According to the Trump administration’s new food safety inspection rule, the Department of Agriculture is almost entirely relinquishing its role in ensuring food safety for the American people. They are implementing a dangerous high-speed pork inspection pilot program nationwide:
Slaughterhouses – not independent federal inspectors – will 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.
In addition to food safety concerns, the rule is also a backdoor way to get rid of federal employees since it will result in the loss of 40% of federal inspector jobs in hog slaughter plants.
Meat workers are already three times more likely to suffer serious injury such as amputations and crushed fingers than the average U.S. workers. Now they have to work even faster with even less time to inspect the meat.
This increases pressure on the final federal inspector at the end of the line who have only seconds to inspect the meat that will eventually land on your holiday dinner plates.
The new final rule takes effect Dec. 2 – just in time for the holidays.
This rule will take us back a century to a time when there was little government oversight over the meatpacking industry.
So instead of Dashing Through the Snow this holiday season, you might be Dashing Through… Salmonella?
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.