Friday, June 26, 2020

Internal watchdog says USDA used iffy data for regulation allowing faster line speeds in pork processing plants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture did not evaluate the accuracy of worker safety data it used to make its case for a new hog inspection system that allows plants to run processing lines at unlimited speeds, the Office of Inspector General has concluded," Kimberly Kindy reports for The Washington Post. "The report, which was released Wednesday, also found that USDA was not transparent about the raw data it used in its worker safety analysis, making it impossible for outside experts to evaluate the agency’s conclusions."

Outside experts were unable to evaluate the USDA's conclusions because the agency wasn't transparent about the raw data used in its worker safety analysis, the report also found. 
"When USDA proposed the new rule, which is voluntary for plants, it concluded injury rates for workers would likely be lower in the plants using the new system," Kindy reports. "The new system, which was finalized in October, shifts many food-safety tasks from federal inspectors to pork industry employees and reduces the number of USDA inspectors on slaughter lines in some plants by 40 percent, records show."

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