via Food and Water watch:
The USDA and other agencies put some things on hold during the election, but now things are starting to move quickly with the looming budget debates. While we agree that budgets need to be in check, we don’t think you get there by cutting essential food safety programs that keep contaminated food from reaching your plate.
The USDA has a proposal to cut costs by removing USDA inspectors from chicken and turkey plants and allowing company employees to do the food safety inspections. In plants where they’ve been testing this, line speeds have been permitted to run as fast as 200 birds per minute,which is several times faster than other plants. Also, company employees who perform inspections are not properly trained to stop unsafe poultry products from leaving the plant.
We reviewed more than 5,000 pages of documents that we obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, and found that current regulations are not being enforced by company inspectors. For example, the records show that bile, sores, scabs, feathers and digestive tract tissue are often not being properly removed from chicken carcasses.
This is totally unacceptable. Our food safety should be the last thing that should be on the budget chopping block. Will you ask Secretary Vilsack to keep meat inspection for chicken and turkey?
Take action to stop privatized meat inspection: