Poultry Plant Operators will have Option to Conduct Inspection on their Own

On Thursday, the Agriculture Department unveiled poultry inspection rules. The new rules have reduced burden on government inspectors, who now will be able to concentrate more on other food-safety matters in the plant.

Now, the plant operators will have an option to carry out inspections on their own to check for bird defects and feces on the processing lines. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack thinks that the changes are among the most important ones made in around six decades in food-safety inspections.

Since 1998, the department is testing this programme in which plants are given the responsibility to inspect the birds on their own. As per the current procedure, inspectors from the Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service have to be present at the poultry plant assembly lines.

They have to check the birds for any blemishes, feces or visible defects before they are processed. Under the new rules, not all the plants may choose to do inspection on their own. In such a scenario, an official from the side of government will be present on the processing line.

Another ruling publicized is a limit will be levied on speeds on poultry plant lines to 140 birds per minute. This step has been majorly taken to prevent workers on the plant from any repetitive-stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome.

There are some groups that think the new rules would not bring many improvements in food safety. "The one U.S.D.A. inspector left on the slaughter line under this new rule will still have to inspect 2.33 birds every second - an impossible task that leaves consumers at risk", affirmed Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch.

United States
Wenonah Hauter