Today at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a coalition of consumer advocates, workers’ rights supporters, and federal food inspectors delivered nearly 150,000 petitions to the agency demanding it halt proposed changes to the poultry inspection process.
You see, the USDA wants to give back most of the inspection responsibility to poultry companies and leave only a single independent, federal inspector on the line to monitor as many as 175 chickens per minute for deformities and illnesses that could end up on your dinner plate. That’s bad news for workers and consumers.
We know that the call for clean, safe chicken is starting to be heard: the USDA just announced it would delay implementation of the rule to consider the matter in more detail. But American Rights at Work activists – along with those at Food & Water Watch, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), AFL-CIO, and Daily Kos – don’t just want the USDA to think about the issue longer, they want the proposed rule withdrawn. And they won’t stop raising their voices in protest until that happens.
Food safety is not something to mess with in such a dangerous way. It’s not possible for a single food safety inspector to adequately monitor three birds every second. Even worse, USDA officials admitted to ABC World News that the proposed new inspection system doesn’t include more lab tests for salmonella and other bacteria.
The fight to protect our food supply will continue over the coming days and weeks. Keeping our families safe is too important to stop now.
Photo courtesy AFGE