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Consumers and workers deserve better than poop on food, injuries

Consumers and workers deserve better than poop on food, injuries

1 Comment(s) | Posted |

 By Anne Janks

August is Clean & Safe Chicken Month. 

Ok, I just made that up. Nonetheless, this is the month we can all win a small but meaningful victory for clean and safe chicken. We just need a little help. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a plan to “modernize” chicken production by:

  1. eliminating 75% of USDA inspectors and permitting corporations to police themselves, using untrained employees;
  2. speeding up production lines so it’s not possible to inspect and remove chickens contaminated with poop, pus, scabs, or rotten flesh;
  3. assume contamination, so all birds will be washed with chlorine.

The USDA has steamrolled their proposal through to this point. The rule will be implemented this fall, which is why we’re asking you to contact the White House and share on social media. With just a little push, we may be able to stop this rule.

For more information and to read the comments opposing this rule by every major food safety, worker safety, government accountability, and animal rights group in the U.S.: www.ChickenJustice.org

You can stop the new rule:
      
  *Contact the White House.
      Comment Line (M-F 9-5 EST) 202-456-1111
      Send in comments (check to receive a response):http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

  *Post on your social media accounts and email to friends.

  *Tweet Michelle Obama @FLOTUS – she cares about safe, healthy food and we need her help!

  *Let us know how your call/email went and sign up to ensure clean, safe chicken, healthy workers, government accountability, and humane animal treatment.

We're concerned and need your help. Here's why:

Food Safety

You won’t be surprised that food safety scientists, industrial hygenists on worker safety, government accountability experts, animal rights activists, and USDA inspectors -- everybody not connected with the industry -- has spoken against the proposed rule. You may not be surprised that the factories which piloted the new rules had just as high (and higher) levels of salmonella.


Government Accountability

The USDA has driven the implementation of this rule, ignoring the normal procedures for creating new rules, soliciting input, and focusing on food safety. The USDA has repeatedly explained this rule is important because it will save the highly profitable meat industry $2XX million dollars annually. The rule gives inspection responsibility to untrained company employees, despite every evidence that “self-regulation” is a dangerous weakening of government regulation. Food safety is too important to leave in the hands of an industry which has repeatedly demonstrated willingness to cut corners in the pursuit of higher profits.


Worker Safety

Injury rates at poultry processing plants are astronomical. Fast line speeds will mean more injuries and ever-higher rates of repetitive motion disabilities. The USDA states that increased production rates will not affect worker safety, but there’s no actual evidence and OSHA is planning a study – starting next year.


More Animal Suffering

Increased production speeds will result in more chickens and turkeys suffering, since there will be more errors in the slaughtering process.

So, what is the “modernization” that the new rules create? Food that is no more safe. Food contaminated with poop, pus, scabs, rotten flesh and chlorine. More injured workers. Animals that suffer more during the production process. 

The USDA has steamrolled their proposal through to this point. The rule will be implemented this fall, which is why we’re asking you to contact the White House and share this important information on social media. Click here for a list of suggested tweets.

If you're feeling a little creative, we'd love to see what you can add to our Pinterest board.

With just a little push, we may be able to stop this rule.

Click here to learn more information and reporting (especially links to some of thoughtful, involved work done by organizations)


Anne Janks is a union organizer who has organized public and private sector workers and farm workers. She created a web site to explain workers their rights, CanMyBossDoThat.com. She is working for Interfaith Worker Justice on issues in the poultry industry.

Comments

We welcome your comments on the IWJ blog and encourage open discussion about important issues around worker justice and the unemployed. Disagreements are fine, but mutual respect is a must. Profanity, slander or abusive language will not be permitted. IWJ reserves the right to delete comments that violate this spirit of respect.

  1. Bob Crystal's avatar
    Bob Crystal
    | Permalink
    I remember my seminary summer we sent workers to the towns organizing the chicken processors. It is ridiculous that USDA is in the pockets of the owners!

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