USDA Proposes Privatizing Poultry Inspections

Wednesday, January 25, 2012
In what it calls a win-win reform that will save money and improve food safety, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) intends to change the way it inspects poultry processing plants.
Critics of the plan say it amounts to privatizing food inspection and threatens to expose consumers to more tainted meats.
Currently, government inspectors from the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) review chicken and turkey carcasses as they go through slaughterhouses. Under the new program, FSIS will spend more time evaluating a company’s food safety procedures, with the expectation that plant workers will then do a cleaner job of processing poultry.
“There will still be an inspector on the line looking at these birds, but that inspector will be looking at a bird that comes across with fewer defects because the sorting will happen at the beginning,” Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Elizabeth Hagen told the media last week.
The government claims the new system will save FSIS $85 million to $95 million over the next three years in operational costs.
Industry representatives praised the proposal, while consumer advocates blasted it.
Food & Water Watch vehemently opposes this plan and any other attempts to privatize food safety functions that are the responsibility of the federal government," said the consumer watchdog group.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
USDA to Revamp Poultry Inspection (by Gretchen Goetz, Food Safety News)

Outsourcing Food Inspections Doesn’t Work (AllGov) 



Update: The FSIS responds: “This proposal would not privatize poultry inspection. The modernization effort being announced today would shift FSIS personnel away from performing sorting activities, which primarily serves a marketing function for producers, and focuses their efforts on conducting carcass-by-carcass and other inspection activities that will better ensure the safety of poultry available for consumers.”


joe smithson 11 years ago
i work as a poultry inspector and have been doing so for 15 years.with lines speeds running at 140 birds a minute it is hard now to inspect every bird like it should be.with this new propsed system it will be imposible to inspect birds that are allowed to run as fast as 200 birds a minute.i hope the american public will be outraged at this attempt to save money,and at what cost.
Mike Simpson 11 years ago
less inspection of your food means more disease in your food. this is equivolant to letting prisoners in jail police themselves. a company's main goal is to maximize profit, they will do this at any cost. even if that means letting more disease birds go through the line.
Eric Starson 11 years ago
improving the diets of our kids might actually help prevent premature puberty:
Jonathan Bennett 11 years ago
“food & water watch vehemently opposes this plan and any other attempts to privatize food safety functions that are the responsibility of the federal government," i've studied the constitution, and i don't recall that responsibility or power granted to the federal government.

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