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Via the Guardian

The USDA is moving toward final approval of a rule that would replace most government inspectors with untrained company employees, and to allow companies to slaughter chickens at a much faster rate. (The rule is called the "Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection", but advocates like the Center for Food Safety and Food and Water Watch are calling it the "Filthy Chicken Rule".) It could be approved as soon as this week.

This "modernization" of inspections through privatization is likely to cause more problems than already occur because the company employees will be disinclined to cost their bosses money by slowing down, stopping production or removing chickens when there's a problem. "It's really letting the fox guard the chicken coop", says Tony Corbo of Food and Water Watch.

Yes, we can!!!

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Comment Preferences

  •  WTF? (18+ / 0-)

    "Let them eat Chicken Shit."  Even Marie Antoinette suggested cake.

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 11:11:39 AM PDT

  •  And what do you want to bet that this (18+ / 0-)

    new arrangement will include bonuses based on who inspects and approves the most?

    This "modernization" of inspections through privatization is likely to cause more problems than already occur because the company employees will be disinclined to cost their bosses money by slowing down, stopping production or removing chickens when there's a problem. "It's really letting the fox guard the chicken coop", says Tony Corbo of Food and Water Watch.

    Dallasdoc: "Snowden is the natural successor to Osama bin Laden as the most consequential person in the world, as his actions have the potential to undo those taken in response to Osama."

    by gooderservice on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 11:16:20 AM PDT

  •  Capital idea (12+ / 0-)

    Even better than having the inspectors in Cargill's pocket in the first place.

    Before the carcass was admitted here, however, it had to pass a government inspectorThis government inspector did not have the manner of a man who was worked to death; he was apparently not haunted by a fear that the hog might get by him before he had finished his testing. If you were a sociable person, he was quite willing to enter into conversation with you, and to explain to you the deadly nature of the ptomaines which are found in tubercular pork; and while he was talking with you you could hardly be so ungrateful as to notice that a dozen carcasses were passing him untouched. This inspector wore a blue uniform, with brass buttons, and he gave an atmosphere of authority to the scene, and, as it were, put the stamp of official approval upon the things which were done in Durham's.

    Jurgis went down the line with the rest of the visitors, staring open-mouthed, lost in wonder. He had dressed hogs himself in the forest of Lithuania; but he had never expected to live to see one hog dressed by several hundred men. It was like a wonderful poem to him, and he took it all in guilelessly—even to the conspicuous signs demanding immaculate cleanliness of the employees. Jurgis was vexed when the cynical Jokubas translated these signs with sarcastic comments, offering to take them to the secret rooms where the spoiled meats went to be doctored.

    The party descended to the next floor, where the various waste materials were treated. Here came the entrails, to be scraped and washed clean for sausage casings; men and women worked here in the midst of a sickening stench, which caused the visitors to hasten by, gasping. To another room came all the scraps to be "tanked," which meant boiling and pumping off the grease to make soap and lard; below they took out the refuse, and this, too, was a region in which the visitors did not linger. In still other places men were engaged in cutting up the carcasses that had been through the chilling rooms. First there were the "splitters," the most expert workmen in the plant, who earned as high as fifty cents an hour, and did not a thing all day except chop hogs down the middle. Then there were "cleaver men," great giants with muscles of iron; each had two men to attend him—to slide the half carcass in front of him on the table, and hold it while he chopped it, and then turn each piece so that he might chop it once more. His cleaver had a blade about two feet long, and he never made but one cut; he made it so neatly, too, that his implement did not smite through and dull itself—there was just enough force for a perfect cut, and no more. So through various yawning holes there slipped to the floor below—to one room hams, to another forequarters, to another sides of pork. One might go down to this floor and see the pickling rooms, where the hams were put into vats, and the great smoke rooms, with their airtight iron doors. In other rooms they prepared salt pork—there were whole cellars full of it, built up in great towers to the ceiling. In yet other rooms they were putting up meats in boxes and barrels, and wrapping hams and bacon in oiled paper, sealing and labeling and sewing them. From the doors of these rooms went men with loaded trucks, to the platform where freight cars were waiting to be filled; and one went out there and realized with a start that he had come at last to the ground floor of this enormous building.

  •  Let the health crises magnify! (8+ / 0-)

    Jesus H. Christ.

    Sir Toby to Malvolio in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night: "Art any more than a steward? Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale?" (virtuous=puritanical)

    by blueoasis on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 11:19:53 AM PDT

  •  It looks like (14+ / 0-)

    USDA has circumvented the Administrative Procedures Act and is begging for a legal challenge to the final rule:

    The USDA made changes to the Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection rule in response to a deluge of comments and complaints. But the agency refuses to divulge those changes until the final rule is published in the Federal Register. And it won’t give the public a chance to comment.
    from Organic Consumers Association

    Fundamental to the Adminstrative Procedures Act is the publication of rule changes for public notice and comment.  I expect this rule to be challenged in court -- and a request for injunctive relief be granted.  Utter bullshite -- re: the idiocy of the rule changes and complete stupidity re: the abuse of the procedure.  USDA is another agency that I wouldn't miss.  They are a danger to society as now operated.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 11:20:35 AM PDT

    •  Aren't USDA inspectors actually paid with (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      occupystephanie

      funds from the industry they inspect?
      That's what I was told when I was working in food processing plants.
      If so, that alone, opens the door lax inspectors.
      I would like to see the USDA fund their inspectors like OSHA gets their funding, which I think are supported by fines levied for safety infractions.

      Severely Socialist 47283

      by ichibon on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 07:37:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is TRULY the FOX guarding the CHICKEN coop! (4+ / 0-)

    Way more than a simple expression!

    Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer. Ayn is the bane!

    by Floyd Blue on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 11:22:45 AM PDT

  •  More good news from our Republican administration (9+ / 0-)

    "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

    by smiley7 on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 11:25:40 AM PDT

  •  Time to go Vegetarian (8+ / 0-)

    Halfway there already.  This may just be the final straw.  Grow your own food, eat from local farmers and tell these motherfuckers to shove their filthy cocks up their own asses (pun intended).

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 11:26:59 AM PDT

  •  Reading the rule itself I think it may be (6+ / 0-)

    Most of the people taking a hard line against us are firmly convinced that they are the last defenders of civilization... The last stronghold of mother, God, home and apple pie and they're full of shit! David Crosby, Journey Thru the Past.

    by Mike S on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 11:36:51 AM PDT

    •  Unfortunately it won't let me copy paste. (0+ / 0-)

      In the third Graf it says that the company personnel will start by deciding which carcasses are likely to pass and then only place them on the inspection line. It is not clear to me in my quick reading of it what they do with the ones that they deem likely not to pass but I seriously doubt that those go directly to market.

      I haven't read the entire proposed rule, not sure I would understand it if I did, but what I did read does not say that the company will be replacing the FDA inspectors.

      Most of the people taking a hard line against us are firmly convinced that they are the last defenders of civilization... The last stronghold of mother, God, home and apple pie and they're full of shit! David Crosby, Journey Thru the Past.

      by Mike S on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 11:43:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's the text (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mike S, nirbama, TheOpinionGuy, Tony Situ

        Given that it's a public, government site, I don't think the usual rules apply about the amount of text that can be quoted.

        http://www.fsis.usda.gov/...

        Setting the Record Straight

        Below is the text of a blog entry, "Setting the Record Straight on the Proposed Chicken Inspection Rule" by USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Administrator Alfred Almanza. It was published April 13, 2012 by HuffingtonPost.com.

        You may not know it, but every day, 10,000 dedicated USDA employees worry about the safety of the meat, poultry, and egg products you and your family eat.

        Over the last few weeks, there has been a lot of misinformation in the media about a proposal by USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) to modernize inspection at poultry slaughter plants. In fact, our plan will help prevent foodborne illnesses.

        Myths about our proposal are being touted by people who are not experts on the subject. Many of them have never even been inside a poultry plant, let alone a plant that is part of a 13-year-old study we have used to determine how best to modernize inspection. Others have suggested that those proposing this new inspection approach know little or nothing about what inspectors really do. As someone who started as an entry level FSIS inspector almost 34 years ago, and has been here for the tremendous amount of change in this agency ever since then, I want to provide a "front-row seat" perspective on how FSIS has transformed into an agency that puts public health first and focuses on prevention.

        When I first started as an FSIS inspector in 1978, we were instructed to make sure that every plant followed prescriptive regulations. I was trained under and well-versed in the "command and control" philosophy focused on enforcing regulations for the sake of enforcement. The world around us was advancing technologically and scientifically. Bacterial pathogens — hidden to the naked eye — were identified as the biggest threat in meat and poultry. We weren't keeping pace with the industry's innovations. That changed in 1996 with a sweeping regulation that called for a shift toward contamination prevention, and required industry to implement comprehensive systems to address foodborne threats. The implementation of the 1996 Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system rule, along with other actions taken by FSIS, have resulted in a significant reduction in foodborne illness. But the latest data tells us we still have much more work to do to protect Americans from foodborne illness.

        In January of this year, FSIS published a proposal that would further the agency's transformation to focus solely on public health and help address the challenge we have to reduce foodborne illness. The poultry modernization proposal will help prevent an estimated 5,200 illnesses. How? By focusing our most valuable resource, our front-line inspectors, on what matters. Right now, we focus on visual inspections of birds, carcass by carcass, and we look for bumps and blemishes. Do these blemishes put Americans' health at risk? No. But the unseen threats, Salmonella and Campylobacter, do. Today, we inspect poultry much the same way as we have since the Eisenhower administration, evaluating the quality of each carcass and doing industry's quality assurance work for them. Once upon a time, there was a good explanation for this: when FSIS first started inspecting poultry, quality assurance was thought to be the best way of keeping the public safe and holding industry accountable. But now that our scientific knowledge has advanced and helped us better identify true food safety threats, we cannot do the same thing we've been doing since the 1950s.

        If we're going to have a debate on the merits of this proposal, I welcome it. But we need to use the same facts in this important discussion. It is not an honest debate when some people are saying that line speeds are going from 35 birds per minute (bpm) to 175. That is simply not the case. Right now, under our current regulations, line speeds are capped at 140 bpm. Additionally, the 20 broiler plants under a pilot program started in 1999, known as the HACCP Inspection Models Program (HIMP), are allowed to go up to 175 bpm. In other words, we have more than a decade of experience slaughter running at 175 bpm, the proposed maximum line speed in the rule. And the data is clear that in these plants, the poultry produced has lower rates of Salmonella, a pathogen that sickens more than 1 million people in the U.S. every year. These plants also maintain superior performance on removing the visual and quality defects that don't make people sick. Those are the facts, based on the data.

        Some in the debate have said that we are turning over inspection to the industry to determine what is safe for consumers. Nothing could be more misleading or incorrect. USDA inspectors will be in every plant, ensuring the safety of these products, and the proportion of them doing critical food safety related tasks will actually increase.

        In the 34 years of my career focused on food safety, I have seen — again and again — the need to modernize to keep up with the latest science and threats. This poultry slaughter modernization proposal is about protecting public health, plain and simple.

    •  There is also a blog post linked at (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      notagain, tobendaro, FG, nirbama, Tony Situ

      The main site from a 36 year inspector that also disputes the information being released.

      Obviously I do not know for sure what is going on here but after watching the anti-vaccination movement I tend to try to be skeptical about what I read online and try to go to the source to get a better idea of what is actually going on.

      Most of the people taking a hard line against us are firmly convinced that they are the last defenders of civilization... The last stronghold of mother, God, home and apple pie and they're full of shit! David Crosby, Journey Thru the Past.

      by Mike S on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 11:49:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks Mike S and Via Chicago (0+ / 0-)

        I am still wondering how they test for the various bacteria at that great a rate.

        Obviously I do not know for sure what is going on here but after watching the anti-vaccination movement I tend to try to be skeptical about what I read online and try to go to the source to get a better idea of what is actually going on.
        Quite right.

        We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

        by occupystephanie on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 09:29:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Petitions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 11:40:31 AM PDT

  •  Great news! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Jason Scott Hunter

    Switch to veggies and you will be happier!  Also, if you get sick from the bad meat, you will be able to sue the company for making you that way.  A win win for all.  Less meat consumption and the ability to hold the culprits responsible.

  •  neoliberals will be neoliberals n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Hepburn

    without the ants the rainforest dies

    by aliasalias on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 01:11:54 PM PDT

  •  Third Way to (2+ / 0-)

    food poisoning.

    I've never left a blank space on a ballot... but I will not vote for someone [who vows] to spy on me. I will not do it. - dclawyer06

    Trust, but verify. - Reagan
    Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

    by Words In Action on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 02:16:46 PM PDT

  •  It's far more honest this way. The Dept of Agri... (0+ / 0-)

    It's far more honest this way. The Dept of Agriculture is in the pocket of the industry anyways, so really there's no change here except the shell game won't be played anymore. It's not as if food production will get better or worse. Cruelly produced animal products just will no longer be legitimized with a government seal of approval... and that's a good thing. When something goes inevitably wrong there's no one else to blame but the industry itself.

  •  Why don't we WANT to employ people in these vital (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Hepburn

    positions as guardians of the public health and safety, i.e. government employees?

    Yes, with great pay and benefits so that they WANT to keep their position by doing a good job guarding ME and my family and my community - I would trust a civilian employee of the government a lot more than I would trust a private employee of the company they were supposedly watch dogging.

    I get that corruption can spoil both, but you know how this could be prevented? - be rotating the government employee so that no one ever gets entrenched at the same locale. Is that so hard to figure out? It's a lot harder to  bribe 10 people because you will bump into a couple of honest people in the bunch - maybe even more than a few who would be willing to turn in the potential briber.

    You could even tell the government employee that they WILL be tested for ethics and integrity and they should just always imagine that the person offering the bribe could have a direct link back to the USDA.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 03:47:22 PM PDT

  •  So Obama wrote the rules himself? (0+ / 0-)

    I didn't realize he had so much time on his hands.....

    There are only two types of Republicans: 1) racists; and 2) people who are willing to be associated with racists.

    by hillbrook green on Tue Jul 29, 2014 at 06:03:28 PM PDT

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