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NCL concerned over proposed poultry reform

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April 9, 2013
Contact: Ben Klein, NCL Communications, (202) 835-3323, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Washington, DC-The National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s pioneering consumer advocacy organization, today expressed disappointment with the Obama Administration’s apparent plans to move forward with the implementation of poultry slaughter reform.

“Consumer and worker advocates have been working tirelessly to halt the implementation of this program,” said Executive Director Sally Greenberg.  “The changes USDA has proposed would put both workers and consumers at risk.”

In January of 2012, USDA proposed changes to poultry slaughter. While historically, inspection duties have been carried out by government inspectors, the new model would transfer some of these responsibilities to plant employees; these are workers who may be vulnerable to employer intimidation and lack the level of training government inspectors possess.  In addition, plants adopting the new model would be allowed to increase the speed of inspection to 175 birds per minute, a rate of one bird every third of a second.  The proposal has been sitting at USDA for several months after vocal opposition from both advocates and members of Congress, but the President’s new budget--released yesterday--includes projected savings from the implementation of this program.

“We are disappointed that the Administration has chosen to move forward with this irresponsible proposal which would endanger public health, especially after such vocal opposition from labor, consumers, and many others,” said Greenberg, “NCL has serious questions about the safety of workers and the food they produce under this scheme, none of which have been adequately answered. While judicious spending is essential, creating savings by sacrificing worker and food safety is not the answer. ”

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.