Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bill with more protections for federal whistleblowers is headed to Obama's desk; could affect agriculture

The U.S. Senate approved the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, which provides greater protection to federal employees who report "waste, fraud and abuse in government operations," reports Meatingplace, a trade journal for the meat industry. The bill passed the House in September and is expected to be signed by President Obama. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel , which will enforce the law, said its reforms "give additional tools to protect federal employees from unlawful retaliation."

The Government Accountability Project's Food Integrity Campaign outlines several ways this bill could impact agriculture: a public health veterinarian reporting to the Department of Agriculture that a slaughterhouse has repeatedly violated humane handling regulations; a Food and Drug Administration inspector exposing falsification of salmonella records at a cantaloupe farm; Food Safety and Inspection Service managers reporting complaints by FSIS inspectors about worker safety at poultry plants; and an FDA researcher whose attempts to publish findings about controversial food ingredients are stifled by upper management. (Read more)

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