Reject Lower Standards for Poultry Inspection

Target: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Goal: Halt plan to decrease poultry inspection and increase line speeds.

The USDA has recently proposed a plan to overhaul the poultry inspection process. These changes would lower the standards of inspection and make it easier for contaminated chicken to be sold to consumers. The new process will come at a cost to quality and efficiency in order to reduce costs and resources used by the USDA.

The new model calls for a reduction in the number of USDA inspectors, and a standard for line speed. The inspectors will be allowed one-third of a second to inspect each chicken. Chicken is not the only type of poultry at risk of reduced quality standards; turkey will also be in danger with expectations of the line speed to increase up to 70%. The proposed times allow for common contaminants to be overlooked including lesions, bruises, and tumors. Line inspectors will not be able to stop the line in order to further examine the poultry, leading to the possibility of fecal matter, scabs, pus, and sores to go by unnoticed.

The increased line speeds are also known to lead to more worker injuries and a decrease in overall morale. Similar decisions in other industries has led to an overall decrease in efficiency and job performance as well as a decrease in skilled workers. All of these side effects will further allow for unhealthy and contaminated chicken to reach our plates.

If the USDA is going to implement any line changes, it needs to be in the name of improved quality and food standards. There is already an alarming amount of contaminated food reaching consumers, resulting in serious illnesses and even death. The USDA needs to focus on improving food quality, which is why the new proposal for line changes must be stopped.


Dear U.S. Department of Agriculture,

The new changes to poultry inspection standards that have been formulated must be disposed of. The proposed plans will lead to an overall decrease in efficiency as well as increase in the passing of contaminated chicken on to consumers. There are already an alarming number of illnesses and deaths resulting from contaminated chicken in the U.S. The USDA should focus on reducing the levels of contaminated chicken, not line speeds.

The planned proposal to allow only one-third of a second to inspect each chicken is unrealistic. Implementing such unrealistic goals clearly displays the USDA’s priorities in saving money at the expense of consumer’s health. Almost 30,000 illnesses linked to food poisoning from chicken consumption have been reported in the last year. Although it is difficult to say how many of these could have been prevented from the point of inspection, it is definitely too large a number to ignore. For this reason alone, the USDA should be focusing all of its efforts on ensuring that the food that enters the market is as clean as possible.

Furthermore, the new plans to increase line time come with a price to the employees of processing facilities. It has been shown in numerous case studies that with increased line speeds, not only does the quality of work go down, but the health and overall morale of the employees decreases as well. A side effect of unhappy employees further exasperates the decrease in quality of work as well as the ability to keep skilled workers.

The USDA has an obligation to the consumers of poultry to work towards the production of healthy food that is free of contaminants. It is for this reason that the new line plans must be rejected and in place a new plan that calls for higher food quality standards.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: copfaqs

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  1. demand higher standards on poultry

  2. J Davidson says:

    Why promote disease and antibiotic resistance? Our healthcare costs are too high already.

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