Food safety and worker health and safety at serious risk in US poultry plants

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report critical of the USDA proposal to remove federal inspectors from the line at poultry processing plants and to double permissible line speeds to 175 birds per minute.

GAO criticised the evaluation of the USDA pilot programme for using inaccurate data and failing to address the food safety risks. The USDA must also give serious attention to the OSH risks posed by increased line speeds before proceeding with its 'modernisation' programme.

The US Department of Agriculture approach is to be contrasted with the actions of Brazil where a tripartite commission this year recommended comrehensive regulations throughout the meat industry to protect and promote occupational health and safety.

Report from IUF 11 September 2013