Food Safety and Worker Safety Advocates Urge Vilsack to Withdraw Poultry Inspection Rule

by Ben Somberg

September 20, 2012

A host of concerned groups and individuals wrote to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today urging him to withdraw proposed changes to poultry inspection rules until food safety and worker safety concerns are addressed. The letter was signed by a range of food safety and worker safety groups and individual signers, including CPR Member Scholars Martha McCluskey, Thomas McGarity, Sidney Shapiro, and Rena Steinzor.

The letter explains the food safety and worker safety issues at stake, and takes USDA to task for its rushed approach:

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) developed the proposal with limited public input. The agency did not adequately consult with its inspection advisory committee, nor did the agency hold public meetings to solicit the views of the public. Previous agency proposals that sought to substantially change parts of the federal inspection program have been debated and discussed in public forums so that stakeholder input could be provided prior to announcing a formal proposal.

Previously in this space, Rena Steinzor explained USDA’s proposed rule and the potential food safety and worker safety consequences, and described how USDA’s de-regulatory proposal was not subject to the rigorous analysis or interagency review that most regulatory proposals are.

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