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OIG Finds USDA Used Questionable Worker Safety Data

According to the Washington Post, the Office of the Inspector General has concluded the United States Department of Agriculture concealed and altered data in order to promote the new pig inspection system.

Bill Would Suspend Increases in Line Speeds

H.R. 7521 proposes to suspend active and prohibit future waivers for high line speeds in slaughterhouses during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

New Jersey Considers Farm Worker Protection Bill

New Jersey Assembly No. 4404 proposes additional protections for farm workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, including increased inspections, government reporting on enforcement activities, prioritization of farm workers for testing, provision of separate living facilities for workers exposed to communicable diseases, and proper availability of personal protective equipment. 

New York Considers Shutting Down Live Animal Markets

New York Assembly Bill A10399 and Senate Bill S8291 propose to indefinitely ban the operation of markets that sell freshly slaughtered animals, sometimes referred to as wet markets. The legislation also proposes the formation of a task force to address public health and animal welfare concerns of slaughterhouses.

USDA Finalizes High-Speed Pig Slaughter Rule

The finalized rule allows for reduced inspection of pig slaughter lines and revoking maximum slaughter line speeds.

Union Sues to Stop Pig Slaughter Line Speed Rule

The United Food and Workers Commercial Union (UFWC) has filed suit against the United States Department of Agriculture over its newest rule removing maximum line speeds for pig slaughter facilities. The lawsuit claims that the rule jeopardizes consumer health and worker safety.

House Appropriations Bill Would Block Line Speed Waivers

The House Agriculture Appropriations bill would revoke all line speed waivers under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or Poultry Products Inspection Act.

USDA Experiments with Increased Line Speed for Pig Slaughter

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is inviting pork producers to increase slaughter line speeds during a one-year trial period after a federal judge ruled that the USDA had improperly eliminated line speed limitations in March 2021 due to workplace safety concerns associated with faster processing. During the pilot program, processing plants will work with labor unions and other worker safety communities to implement workplace safety measures and share data with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to help shape future industry regulations.

USDA Finalizes High-Speed Slaughter Rule

The USDA finalized a rule revoking maximum line speeds at slaughterhouses for pigs, calling the move a “modernization” and that the new rule would “improve animal welfare . . . because more FSIS resources will be available to verify the humane handling of animals.” Under the new rule, a maximum line speed may be established on a case-by-case basis as directed by the Inspector-In-Charge at that plant when, in the Inspector’s judgment, “a carcass-by-carcass inspection cannot be adequately performed.”

Unions File Suit Challenging USDA Line Speed Waivers

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and local counterparts in six states have filed suit against the United States Department of Agriculture, alleging that the agency’s line speed waiver program violates the Administrative Procedure Act.