food safety

Tag archives for food safety

Senator Gillibrand introduces “Safe Meat & Poultry Act,” recognizes hazards for plant workers

Senator Gillibrand’s “Safe Meat & Poultry Act” includes one short provision that really caught my eye. USDA would need to rely on OSHA’s determination on what is an appropriate line speed to ensure the health of plant workers is protected.

Do you want overworked inspectors in charge of your meat’s safety?

Some USDA meat and poultry inspectors work many hours of overtime. USDA insists it doesn’t affect their critical food safety responsibilities.

“If we could get growers to comply with the law, that would revolutionize agriculture in this country,” said United Farm Workers (UFW) national vice president Erik Nicholson explaining the circumstances that led to the creation of the Equitable Food Initiative.

For many migrant farmworkers, the health risks don’t stop at the end of the workday. After long, arduous hours in the field, many will return to a home that also poses dangers to their well-being. And quite ironically for a group of workers that harvests our nation’s food, one of those housing risks is poor cooking and eating facilities.

After nearly three decades as a USDA food safety inspector, Stan Painter tells me he now feels like “window dressing standing at the end of the line as product whizzes by.”

How will USDA respond to environmental justice concerns for poultry plant workers?

I’m eager to see how USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack responds to the environmental justice concerns raised about the Food Safety Inspection Services’ proposed regulation on poultry plant inspections.

A couple years ago, two public health researchers attended a hearing about the possible expansion of an industrial food animal production facility. During the hearing, a community member stood up to say that if the expansion posed any hazards, the health department would surely be there to protect the people. The two researchers knew that probably wasn’t the case.

A few recent pieces worth a look

Is USDA serious? Inspecting a chicken in 1/3 of a second?

An animation created by the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards shows us the speed at which the USDA is proposing for its inspectors to find fecal contamination on poultry carcasses.

To the long list of hard-to-pronounce bacteria and viruses that threaten people’s health can now be added one more threat: sequestration. Except sequestration isn’t a disease — well, unless you’d call Congress’ chronic inability to deal with the national debt in a fair and balanced way a disease.