Washington, D.C. – Last week, on the Friday evening after Thanksgiving Day, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service released alarming new data about poultry plants that have failed its latest salmonella testing for carcasses, parts and comminuted (ground or shredded) poultry. While the agency does not identify which plants have converted to the privatized inspection system, information obtained by Food & Water Watch from the USDA through the Freedom of Information Act* shows that 24 of the plants that failed had converted to the privatized inspection model, the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS), and five of the plants failing have requested permission to convert.
“USDA has shown over and over again that poultry plants undergoing privatized inspections are a failure for ensuring important food safety standards,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “This scheme is nothing more than a way to grease the wheels for more industry profits fueled by less accountable food safety standards.”
Plants working under the NPIS are staffed with fewer USDA inspectors on the slaughter line, and most of the inspection duties are transferred to company employees. Under traditional inspection, there can be as many as four government inspectors assigned to a slaughter line with each inspector responsible for evaluating up to 35 carcasses per minute. Under NPIS, there is only one government inspector assigned to the slaughter line and he or she is responsible for inspecting up to three birds per second.
Recently, the USDA announced that it was allowing NPIS plants to increase line speeds from 140 to 175 birds per minute.
“USDA testing continually shows that plants under this privatized inspection model are producing unsafe food. Now, the agency is also allowing the poultry industry to rev up slaughter lines ever faster to increase profits,” said Hauter. “We will continue to hold the USDA accountable for these decisions that will have public health consequences—even as it yields more and more food safety oversight to the industry itself.”
Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.
* Plants that have converted to NPIS and failed one or more of the FSIS salmonella performance standards (for carcasses, parts and comminuted poultry) according to documents obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests:
P6505 -- Claxton Poultry Farms -- Claxton, GA -- (original HIMP plant): carcass and parts
P810 -- Pilgrims Pride -- Moorefield, WV -- (original HIMP plant): parts
P27389 -- Pittman Farms -- Sanger, CA: carcass and parts
P1257 -- Fielddale Farms -- Murrayville, GA: parts
P910 -- Harrison Poultry -- Bethlehem, GA: parts
P39 -- Miller Poultry (Pine Manor) -- Orland, IN: parts
P20604 -- Gerber Poultry -- Kidron, OH: parts and comminuted
P286 -- Perdue -- Washington, IN: comminuted
P34308 -- Sanderson Farms -- Waco, TX: carcass
P51179 -- Sanderson Farms -- Palestine, TX: carcass
P19865 -- House of Raeford -- Arcadia, LA: carcass and parts
P34668 -- Simply Essentials -- Charles City, IA: carcass
P551 -- Jenny-O Turkey Store (turkey) -- Willmar, MN: comminuted
P244 -- Plainville Farms -- New Oxford, PA: comminuted
P45910 -- Sanderson Farms -- St. Pauls, NC: parts
P40183 -- Sanderson Farms -- Kinston, NC: carcass and parts
P963 -- Cargill (turkey) -- Springdale, AR: comminuted
P8727 -- Butterball (turkey) – Carthage, MO: comminuted
P622 -- Tyson Foods – Monroe, NC: comminuted
Plants that are waiting to convert to the NPIS:
P855 -- Pilgrims Pride -- Athens, GA: parts
P6519B -- Coastal Processing -- Louisville, GA: parts
P445 -- Wayne Farms -- Dobson, NC: parts
P44826 -- Case Farms -- Canton, OH: parts
P46826 -- Shenandoah Valley Organic -- Harrisonburg, VA: parts
Contact: Darcey Rakestraw, 202-683-2467; [email protected]