USDA pork inspection rules face heightened scrutiny

The US inspector general says that existing pork inspection rules are based on questionable worker safety data.
calendar icon 26 June 2020
clock icon 4 minute read

In response to the OIG report, a non-profit group opposed to the new system said it will seek legal redress to set the system aside.

When the new rules were initially proposed, the USDA concluded that injury rates would likely drop. However, worker safety advocates challenged these conclusions. They said that workers would be operating at a faster pace as they slaughtered hogs and performed the repetitive and complex work of processing the carcass into different cuts of meat.

According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, illness rates for meat plant workers are 16 times higher than the average for all other industries.

The IG said that during the public comment period, the USDA provided an analysis of worker safety based on OSHA records that were not made public. The inspector, “determined that [USDA] did not compare the OSHA data to any corroborating evidence to verify the reliability of these data used.”

The USDA also, “neither ensured that the data in the proposed rule were presented in an accurate manner nor disclosed all known limitations of the data.”

In an email to The Washington Post, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) responded, saying that the IG misapplied information to a preliminary analysis that was not made in support of its proposal. “Further, the OIG findings place an exaggerated emphasis on minor errors made in the presentation of the analysis – errors already corrected.”

Read the full story in The Washington Post.

© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.