The USDA has recently proposed eliminating line speed limits in hog slaughter plants. The proposal would expand a pilot program that allows factories to speed up line processing while removing some federal food safety inspectors from the premises. Factories would have to opt into the expanded scheme, and the ones that choose to do so would have significant freedom to adjust workplace policies as they see fit. Inspection would then be turned over to private company employees, though the USDA’s proposal includes no funding to subsidize the new expense and they may not be trained to the level of federal inspectors. The volume of hogs processed in these factories would increase, meanwhile, and nothing requires those factories to hire more workers to handle the growth.
ICCR opposes this proposal because of the health risks to workers, the food safety risks to consumers, and the harm it may pose to companies and the broader economy.
America’s workers deserve safe workplaces and consumers deserve safe food. We encourage the USDA to reject this proposal and enforce safe line speed limits and inspections in pork plants.