“Eat Sh*t And Die” The New USDA Watchword? Not If You Raise A Stink To Congress
Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 5, 2012
If you haven’t already sworn off most industrial chicken, you might want to consider it now — or call your Congresscritters — after seeing this:
Under the current rules, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is responsible for inspecting all chicken and turkey carcasses for things like bruises, bile, and yes, shit, before they’re sent for further processing. The proposed HACCP-Based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) would remove those USDA inspectors from the lines, leaving poultry plant employees, who already stand in a fast-moving, I-Love-Lucy-style line, to flag unsanitary or otherwise flawed birds.
[Federal food safety inspector Steven] Clarke [describes the shift as “ plain and simply a job cutting measure.” And in the end, cutting jobs means cutting dollars. In an article from early March, Food Safety News dug up a study [PDF] showing the program is projected to save FSIS up to $95 million over three years, and to give a $250 million boost to poultry companies.
That’s why a number of poultry workers joined Food and Water Watch, the Government Accountability Project, and the National Consumer League in protesting the proposed changes outside the USDA on Monday.
Why is this being done? Because, as David Dayen shows, even USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has stated that the Pentagon’s beyond-bloated budget is a sacred cow, and since Congress is too (pardon the pun) chicken to let the Bush tax cuts expire, that means that what’s left of the non-DoD parts of the government will get shredded. Again. And again. And industry lobbyists will take advantage of this to ensure that Big Business has a tighter grip on the parts of government that remain.
Let Congress know that you don’t think “Eat Sh*t and Die” is what the USDA (or the companies influencing it) should be telling Americans. If enough folks raised the stink over this that’s been raised over pink slime, we can stop this in its tracks. Furthermore, we can use this as a teachable moment to explain to our friends and relations the deeper reasons why this is being done.
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