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  Is industrial poultry about to get even more disgusting?
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Last EditedRP  Apr 03, 2012 11:30am
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CategoryRule Change
AuthorRachel Cernansky
News DateTuesday, April 3, 2012 12:10:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionUnder the current rules, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is responsible for inspecting all chicken and turkey carcasses for things like bruises, bile, and yes, ****, before they’re sent for further processing. The proposed HACCP-Based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) would remove those USDA inspectors from the lines, leaving poultry plant employees, who already stand in a fast moving I-Love-Lucy style line to flag unsanitary or otherwise flawed birds.

USDA inspectors now are responsible for 35 birds per minute, but if HIMP moves ahead, lines could move more than 200 birds per minute, according to the advocacy group Food and Water Watch. “We only have a bit over a second and a half to inspect the carcass, which is too fast,” said Steven Clarke, a federal inspector for 26 years, on the advocacy site LetThemEatChicken.

Clarke describes the shift as “…plain and simply a job cutting measure.” And in the end, cutting jobs means cutting dollars. In an article from early March, Food Safety News dug up a study showing the program is projected to save FSIS up to $95 million over three years, and to give a $250 million boost to poultry companies.

“All [HIMP] really is, is a way to dramatically lower quality and standards,” says Amanda Hitt, director of the Government Accountability Project’s Food Integrity Campaign. Poultry, she adds, “shouldn’t have feathers, scabs, blisters and pustules. It shouldn’t have feces in the cavity. These are all things that now, under HIMP, are going to be left to the plants to deal with.”

In an analysis of a HIMP pilot program, Food and Water Watch found that rushed poultry plant inspectors allowed a shocking number of problems through, including defective and unsanitary birds.
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