By Benjamin Goad - 07/23/13 09:02 PM EDT
Proposed in January of 2012, the USDA proposal would slash the number of on-site inspectors and shift much of the responsibility for detecting visible problems with chicken and turkey carcasses to plant employees.
“USDA’s proposal also allows each plant to decide the level of bruises, feathers, bile or ingesta appropriate for birds going down the processing line, rather than setting uniform standards across the industry,” the groups wrote.
The proposal would also allow plants to increase line speeds, allowing 175 carcasses to fly by workers every minute.
The groups contend the measures would increase the danger of workplace injuries, and the likelihood that salmonella or other pathogens could be passed on to consumers.
“Despite these concerns, USDA has not held public meetings to discuss such substantial changes,” the coalition wrote.
The modernization plan is part of the Obama administration’s regulatory “look-back” an initiative meant to identify and cast out duplicative or overly burdensome regulations.
Shelanski, who began work at OIRA just this month, is slated to testify about the effort on Wednesday afternoon.