Statement of Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Watch
On Friday the USDA announced that it had withdrawn a proposed rule from the Trump administration that would have rolled back line-speed standards at poultry plants to allow for inspection rates of up to three birds per second. Such speeds would have made it nearly impossible for inspectors to properly due their jobs and ensure food safety and public health.
In response, Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter issued the following statement:
“We’re pleased that the Biden administration has resisted the bidding of the immensely powerful corporate poultry lobby, at least for the moment. As if forcing poultry workers into crowded, unsafe plants during the COVID pandemic wasn’t bad enough, the Trump administration’s proposed line-speed rule would have been a senseless giveaway to the industry at the expense of Americans’ health and safety. Nothing is more egregious.
“But this is just the first of many steps the USDA must pursue to demonstrate a long-term commitment to prioritizing public health and safety over corporate profits. Given Secretary Tom Vilsack’s record, we must be diligent and aggressive in holding this administration accountable – on everything from future line-speed decisions to the foolish trend of turning over federal inspection of meat and poultry plants to companies themselves. Allowing profit-driven corporations to inspect their own operations would be a gross dereliction of duty by the USDA.”