Congress stands up to new swine slaughter rule

Concerns for the safety of processing line workers and for consumers have been raised and put to USDA officials in a letter that requests the withdrawal of the new Swine Slaughter Inspection Modernisation Rule.
calendar icon 25 April 2018
clock icon 3 minute read

Led by long-time food safety advocate Representatives, Rosa L. DeLauro, (D-CT) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), members of congress have become part of one of the USDA’s longest-running disputes.

In a letter signed by 63 members of congress, officials are now asked to reconsider the rule that many plant workers and pork industry representatives believe to be dangerous to both worker and consumer health and safety.

The rule allows more swine slaughter facilities to enlist in the HACCP-based Inspection Models Project (HIMP), which some believe will essentially privatise the inspection process. The rule would hand over inspection services to external companies and reduce the number of federal inspectors, and would allow increased line speeds to maximise product output. It would also neglect to provide money and support to train plant employees on proper inspection techniques, the letter stated.

The letter states that the proposed rule “will not lead to safer food” as “there is no evidence that the increased line speeds can be done in a manner that ensures safe food and safe workers”.

The letter adds that the rule “removes all limitations on line speeds in hog slaughter plants, which will endanger the health and safety of tens of thousands of workers in the hog slaughter industry”.

“Eliminating line speed limits makes it harder for federal meat inspectors and quality control workers in plants do their jobs.

“This means it will be less safe for all of us to eat pork.”

Read the full letter here

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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