Another Legal Challenge Filed Over New Pork Processing Rules
Thursday, January 16, 2020
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A federal lawsuit was filed this week over recent changes to how safety inspections are handled at pork processing plants.
It follows a separate federal suit filed in Minnesota last fall.
In 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture revised how inspections are handled at slaughterhouses by essentially handing most of those duties over to the companies themselves.
Ryan Talbott, a staff attorney at Center for Food Safety, one of the plaintiffs in the latest lawsuit, says shifting that responsibility opens the door to food-borne illnesses.
"It's safe to say that once you have the slaughter plant employees, who have no mandatory minimum training or education requirements, taking on the roles of trained federal inspectors -- this is a recipe for disaster," he states.
The USDA says the changes are intended to modernize the pork processing system. Many in the pork industry also support the changes, saying they will bring more efficiencies.
Last fall, several labor unions filed a federal lawsuit in Minnesota over provisions that remove maximum line speeds when bringing hogs to slaughter. That suit contends the changes compromise worker safety, as well as food safety.
Talbott says the threat to pork products sold in the U.S. would not be on a small scale. He says this could affect consumers in a big way.
"The government's expecting several dozen pork slaughter plants to adopt these rules, which is probably going to cover more than 90% of pork that's sold in commerce," he states. "So, the effects are going to be felt nationally."
The latest suit asks the court to dismiss the new rules. A hearing in the lawsuit filed in Minnesota is scheduled for later this month.
get more stories like this via email
Research is emerging about the secondary trauma school staff members face after helping students during the pandemic. As summer moves forward…
Health and Wellness
A Florida judge plans to put a hold on the state's new, 15-week abortion ban, set to take effect today. He said it is unconstitutional and will issue …
The Environmental Protection Agency now has fewer tools to fight climate change, after the U.S. Supreme Court stripped the agency of its authority to …
Three projects in Idaho have been selected to receive grants from the AARP Community Challenge. Among them is the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in …
Montanans get a sense of what soil health is like on farms and ranches across the state with Northern Plains Resource Council's soil crawls. The …
A new tool aims to help older adults in Arkansas and beyond who receive Medicare track what happens at their doctor appointments. It also can help …
A campaign in Maine is gathering signatures to replace the state's investor-owned energy grid with a consumer-owned utility. Central Maine Power (…
Another important U.S. Supreme Court ruling this month has been overshadowed by the controversy about overturning abortion rights. Legal experts say …