The USDA instituted a meat inspection pilot program of speeding up the processing lines by 20%, halving the number of USDA safety inspectors and replacing them with private inspectors employed by meat companies. “Sort of like the Iranians inspecting their own nuclear facilities” said Bill ‘Ham-Hock’ Wilson, swine inspector, 3rd shift.
Your watchdogs in Washington will also allow Air Cadet Scouts to take over air traffic control and anyone with a gun to enforce local traffic laws.
Feel safe now?
Didn’t we see what happened when they sped the chocolate line up on Lucy and Ethel in their famous TV sketch? Replace the bon bons with carcasses and you begin to see the mess. You just can’t stuff pork snouts into your shirt and walk out of the building. Something will smell.
The ‘buffer’ between you and I and contaminated meat will be just as porous as Donald trump’s wall on the border. Minimum wage entry level workers who, through loyalty for their employer, will relentlessly scope out every bit of rotted flesh and hack it away like a government sequester. If you see how well that worked, it should put you at ease.
An investigative government report said “If the line speed is too fast, workers would have little time to examine and trim off visible contamination from carcasses and live chat with their Facebook friends at the same time. The meat plants said it was a morale issue more than anything else.”
It went on to say. “Staff would also have insufficient time to properly sterilize their knives between trimmings. Wiping the knives on their pants, however clean they look, will not do the job.”
Elisabeth Hagen, the USDA’s undersecretary for food safety and slogans has praised the new inspection procedures. “So what if they miss a hunk of bad meat speeding down the line, the lettuce in your salad will probably get you” she snickered.
Meat companies anticipated increased profits as they move more carcasses through their slaughterhouses while reducing government oversight. The government expected to save millions of dollars annually by reducing its inspection force, and projected that consumers would see lower prices. Two out of the three have not happened. Can you guess which ones?
One week before the USDA inspector general’s office issued the critical report this spring, Hagen told the Food Chemical News, a trade publication, that the pilot initiative has produced safety results the department is “comfortable with and confident in.”
‘Comfortable and confident’ is what a lobbyist is when they push legislation laden with technical jargon, through a Washington committee that has just gorged itself on the lobbyist’s dime and needs an afternoon nap. Are you comfortable with that?
The report stated that ‘three plants in the pilot program were among the 10 worst offenders in the country for health and safety violations.
In interviews, six USDA inspectors working in the pilot plants raised health concerns. They spoke on condition of anonymity. They believed, if found out, they would be sent to a country in the South American Andes to inspect goat fleece for tics in a not yet sequestered government program.