The USDA continues to push forward with it’s proposal to “modernize poultry slaughter“. From their own headline this proposal is more about helping increase business profits with some marginal “gains” for taxpayers. Their headline blares out “$90 million over 3 years” as the benefit to taxpayers while citing “$256 million annually” for business. If my math is right that means for every 12 cents in taxpayer money saved business makes $1.00. WisCOSH is not against saving tax money. But not at the expense of the American public’s and workforce’s health and safety. Because of the public and workforce outcry the USDA had extended the “comment period”.
This proposal is worrisome on at least several levels:
- it reduces the number of inspectors by hundreds
- it allows greatly increasing the production linespeed [up to 175 bpm per line] for workers
- would leave the task of spotting [and presumably discarding] diseased and/or defective birds to the poultry companies
- There is no requirement for plant operators to train workers taking over job duties previously performed by Federal inspectors
The proposal makes many references to the amount of money per pound that plants will save upon going to the new process but few to the increased ability to protect the food supply. Or the consumer. Or the workers.There is a large, and growing, contingent of groups opposing this proposal. WisCOSH encourages you to contact your Senators and representative in Congress. And the USDA. And the President. Today. The health and safety of thousands of poultry line workers is depending on it. And so does that sandwich or dinner you were thinking of having.
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