US MOCs concerned with USDA proposal to modify poultry line speed waivers

The proposal is predicated on unfounded worker safety concerns, they say
calendar icon 12 September 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

In a letter to US secretary of agriculture Tom Vilsack, 35 members of congress expressed concern regarding the US Department of Agriculture Office of Food Safety and the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (USDA-FSIS) recent proposal to modify existing line speed waivers for chicken processing establishments currently operating under said waivers. In the letter, the members of congress said the entire proposal is predicated on unfounded worker safety concerns.

The congress members requested the USDA extend compliance dates associated with the proposed modifications to the waiver process until the department could provide answers to 24 questions, as outlined in the letter.

"We reviewed the July 29, 2022 letters that FSIS sent to establishments with existing line speed waivers, and we are specifically concerned with the amount of data requested, the lack of details regarding the information requested, the specifics of the study discussed in those letters, and the length of time given to establishments to respond to the letters," the letter stated.

The signees said they were also very surprised to learn of "the highly inadequate, rigid timelines" the Department gave establishments to respond to and comply with the broad information requests made in these letters.

"We are equally concerned that the Department has given establishments, some of which have had line speed waivers for over two decades, just 31 days to agree to an aggressive data submission plan in which there is no assurance of the protection of any submitted information and to agree to a study in which the establishments have been provided little to no details," said the letter.

The members of congress asked for their questions to be answered by September 30, 2022.

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