December 14, 2018

USDA Sends HIMP Poultry Rule to OMB

The USDA has submitted a draft final version of the HAACP Based Models Project (HIMP), the Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection Rule to the Office of Management and Budget today. That rule has been criticized from everyone from food safety advocates to worker's unions. Food & Water Watch does not like this rule, which would reduce the number of USDA inspectors in poultry slaughter plants and replace them with company employees. Line speeds for poultry carcass inspections will be increased to 175 birds per minute, which critics claim is much too fast for any reasonable inspection. The industry will gain at least $260 million every year because of fewer regulations,¬†increased production, and no guarantees of food safety. And there is concern that employees may not be as … [Read more...]

Food & Water Watch Criticizes USDA Meat Inspection Plans

Tony Corbo of Food & Water Watch states that the USDA is "dismantling the meat inspection system as we know it." Information received through the Freedom of Information Act from USDA's FSIS had a spreadsheet with the number of temporary inspectors hired and where they are working. Last December, FSIS posted "As the Food Safety and Inspection Service looks to transition through modernization and implementation of the New Poultry Slaughter Inspection System, the Agency is announcing temporary Food Inspector positions to facilitate the transition and to help ensure seamless implementation should the Agency decide to proceed with implementation of the new system." That new system, commonly known as HIMP,¬†has been heavily criticized by many consumer, food safety, and worker safety … [Read more...]

Canada Wants Option to Fine Meat Plants for Violations

The Canadian government wants to have the power to fine meat processing plant that violate food safety rules, according to CTVnews. Lisa Murphy, a CFIA spokeswoman, said that "these proposed new fines demonstrate our commitment to ensuring that Canada's stringent food safety requirements are being followed." Now, food inspectors can only issue written warnings, or can suspend a facility's license and shut it down, as is the case in the United States. This proposed measure may have been prompted by the huge recall of beef products from the now defunct XL Foods plant in 2012. Beef from that facility caused an E. coli 0157:H7 outbreak that sickened 18 people. The proposed fines range from $2,000 to $15,000. The meat packing industry is questioning why they are being singled out, and why … [Read more...]

Want to See How Fast 175 Birds Per Minute Is?

Many consumer and food safety advocates are angry about the proposed HAACP-Based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) for poultry inspection. That model shifts responsibility for inspecting poultry from government to corporations. In addition to having employees inspect the birds, line speeds will be increased from 140 birds per minute to 175 birds per minute. It's easy to talk about how increasing line speeds will increase worker injuries and make it harder for anyone to see problems with carcasses. It's another thing to actually watch birds fly by at the rate of 175 per minute. To see how this line speed looks, take a gander at the simulation of a 175 bpm model provided by the Food Integrity Campaign. Scroll down to FIC, Poultry Workers Campaign against USDA Proposal. Do you really … [Read more...]

Hawaii Bakery Fined $20,000 for Violations of Food Safety Rules

The Hawaii State Department of Health has reached an agreement with Kanemitsu Bakery for $20,000 over violations of rules designed to protect public health and prevent adulterated food products from being sold under poor sanitary conditions. The bakery is located in Kaunakakai on the island of Molokai. The bakery's food establishment permit was suspended in April 2012 for many health code violations and for not complying with DOH orders to stop all sales of products. An inspection on June 20, 2012 revealed serious deficiencies in the "maintenance and manufacturing practices conducted at the facility," according to the report. The bakery remained closed until mid-November 2012 after failing many health inspections. Gary Gill, DOH deputy director of Environmental health said in a … [Read more...]

Retail List for Rancho Feeding Recalled Beef Expanded

The retail list for places that most likely sold the Rancho Feeding Corporation beef that was made from diseased animals and marketed without federal inspection has been expanded. Product specific information about the recalled meats can be found at the USDA web site. In addition to the retail locations posted earlier this week, more are added. All of these locations are in California. There is no word on the retail locations in Florida, Illinois and Texas that probably sold the recalled meats. The meats were probably sold at Los Mexicanos on High Street in Oakland, Los Primos and Mi Ranchito on Foothill Blvd. in Oakland, La Esmeraldo on Market Street in San Pablo, Azteca Market on 4th Street in San Rafael, and Carolina Wild on Aero Drive in Santa Rosa. If you purchased the … [Read more...]

Food & Water Watch Exposes USDA Inspection Staff Shortages

Food & Water Watch has uncovered USDA inspection staffing shortages and has sent a letter to Secretary Tom Vilsack, asking him to investigate this issue. The new policy at the government agency is to hire temporary meat and poultry inspectors instead of full-time permanent inspection personnel. Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch said in a statement, "we believe that the USDA has put food safety in jeopardy by this reckless policy. This policy was hatched so the agency could implement its 'Filthy Chicken Rule', which deregulates poultry inspections - a move so fraught with controversy that it has yet to be finalized. What the USDA has done is put the entire meat and poultry inspection system on the brink of collapse." The policy began in May 2012, right … [Read more...]

Food & Water Watch Skewers USDA Again on Salmonella Plans

Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch, has responded to USDA's claims that their email telling inspectors to not interfere with industry collection of Salmonella data was appropriate. In a statement she said that, "what was troubling about the email was that it told the district managers that the purpose of the data collection was for the industry to develop its own voluntary pathogen performance standards that it was going to enforce on poultry processing plants. It went on to say that FSIS inspection personnel assigned to the plants were not to interfere with the National Chicken Council data collection and that they had no right to look at the data that was collected. "In other words, the poultry industry would create the standards for pathogen levels in … [Read more...]

Canada’s Food Inspection System Barely Passes USDA Audit

The Canadian food safety system has been given the lowest audit rating possible so it can still export food to the United States. The rating of "adequate" follows an on-site audit of Canada's meat inspection system from October to November 2012. The results were just released to the public last month. These results mean that food coming in from Canada will be more closely inspected at the border. The three grades in the audit system are "well-performing", which is the best grade, then "average" and finally "adequate". There are six components of the audit, including government oversight, statutory authority and food safety regulations, sanitation, hazard analysis and HACCP, chemical residues control program, and microbiological testing programs. The audit found that oversight of hazard … [Read more...]

Ferrarini USA Recalls Uninspected Salami Products

Ferrarini USA, importer of record in California is recalling about 15,118 pounds of salami products that were not presented for import reinspection. That is required by FSIS before an imported product can enter commerce in the US. No illnesses have been reported in connection with the consumption of these products. The recalled products include Salame Emilia Ferrarini Log in boxes of 5 logs weighing 7.7 pounds each, with package code 60516 3222 3208. Also recalled is Salame Parma Ferrarini Log in boxes of 5 logs weighing 7.7 pounds each, with package code 60518 3224 3295. Salame Parma Ferrarini Log is recalled, in boxes of 4 logs weighing 7.7 pounds each, with package code 60518 2685 2686. Finally, Ferrarini Salame Parma is recalled, in boxes of 20 chubs weighing 250 grams each, with … [Read more...]

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