October 25, 2016

Food & Water Watch Says Privatized Poultry Inspection Jeopardizes Food Safety

The advocacy organization Food & Water Watch has released a statement saying that privatized meat inspections jeopardize food safety. Food Poisoning Bulletin has been telling you about the government's effort to turn inspections of meat plants over to corporations for years. This analysis, conducted on inspection documents and noncompliance reports obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveals defects in HIMP, USDA's HACCP-based Inspection Models Project. Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said in a statement, "Based on the data coming out of the plants where this privatized inspection scheme is already in place, it is unacceptable for USDA to try to expand this program to more plants." The pilot project has been running in 24 slaughter … [Read more...]

Sunrise Poultry Products Recalled for No Import Inspection

Sunrise Poultry Processors of Alberta, Canada is recalling about 2,705 pounds of poultry products that were not presented at the U.S. point of entry for inspection. Without the benefit of full inspection, a possibility of adverse health consequences exists. No reports of illness or adverse reactions have been received to date. The recalled items include 4o pound bulk cases of "Sunrise Poultry Chicken Thighs", 25 pound cases of "Sunrise Poultry Chicken Thighs Boneless", 25 pound cases of "Sunrise Poultry Boneless Chicken Breast", and 2.5 pound cases of "Sunrise Poultry Chicken Whole Fryer." Also recalled are 4 pound cases of "Sunrise Poultry Chicken Whole Fryer" and 3.25 - 3.75 pound cases of "Sunrise Poultry Chicken Whole Fryer." The products have the establishment number "Canada 591". … [Read more...]

Canadian Butchers Altering “Best Before” Dates Caught on Hidden Camera

A hidden-camera investigation by Radio Canada showing grocery store butchers altering the "best before" dates on packages of meat and poultry has prompted Quebec's Agriculture Minister Pierre Paradis to order a probe of meat packing regulations. Although no health problems have been reported, the problem has become widespread. A butcher at one store told the network that meats are repackaged every morning before the store opens. For food safety reasons, meat and poultry need to be eaten within two to three days of being packaged. Changing the "best before" date could cause serious health problems for consumers. "We will take the necessary steps,” Paradis told the Montreal Gazette.  “Our producers are producing quality meats. The consumer has the right to eat quality … [Read more...]

Privatized Food Inspection Equivalencies Risky

Food & Water Watch is asking USDA Tom Vilsack to reassess the government's positions on equivalency for privatized inspection systems in other countries. Last week, a shipment of beef imported from Canada was found to be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. The beef was produced at the JBS Food Canada plant in Alberta, Canada. This is the same plant that was responsible for the largest meat recall in Canadian history. In 2012, 12 million pounds of beef was recalled for E. coli contamination. More than 2 million pounds of that beef was shipped to the United States. JBS, Canadian Establishment 0038, uses a privatized inspection program at their facility that USDA recognized as being "equivalent" to U.S. meat inspection in 2006. The contamination was discovered by USDA-FSIS inspectors … [Read more...]

Halal Beef Producer Indicted

The owner of Midamar Corporation of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, William B. Aossey Jr., has been indicted with 19 felony counts by a grand jury in records unsealed October 24, 2014. The charges range from conspiracy to make false statements, selling misbranded meat, and committing mail and wire fraud. Aossey is also charged with making false statements on export applications, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. In 2012, Midamar was raided by federal agents with search warrants. Officials seized the company's business records, computers, and bank accounts. Halal foods are produced under Islamic dietary guidelines that require animals are raised, cared for, and killed to limit pain. The indictments charge that Midamar employees used nail polish to cover up the federal … [Read more...]

USDA Should Protect Consumers from Australian Meat

Food & Water Watch sent a letter to the USDA to protect U.S. consumers from Australian meat and to re-evaluate the equivalency of that country's meat inspection system. Meat companies are abandoning the Australian Meat Inspeciton System (AEMIS) that was found to be equivalent to the U.S. system. This is the fifth time in two years that Food & Water Watch has asked the USDA to look at the Australian system. Food & Water Watch's executive director Wenonah Hauter said in a statement, "Although the European Union has flagged definite problems in allowing meat companies to police their own inspection systems, the USDA has yet to speak out about this every obvious conflict of interest. Yet if the result of a privatized meat inspection system in Australia is food that is unsafe to … [Read more...]

Food & Water Watch Sues USDA to Stop Poultry Rule

Food & Water Watch sued the USDA yesterday to stop implementation of the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS) rules, which would replace government food safety inspectors with company employees. Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said in a statement, "these rules essentially privatize poultry inspection, and pave the way for others in the meat industry to police themselves." These rules come on the heels of the huge Foster Farms chicken Salmonella outbreak which sickened thousands of people over many months. Many people in that outbreak were hospitalized because the seven strains of Salmonella Heidelberg on those products were resistant to several strains of antibiotics. The NRDC just released USDA-FSIS inspection reports on Foster Farms which showed that … [Read more...]

CFIA Completes Audit on U.S. Meat Inspection Equivalency

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has completed an audit of the equivalency of the U.S. meat inspection program. The audit was conducted in February 2013 and was a routine ongoing equivalence verification audit. Government officials make sure that the U.S. meat inspection system is equivalent to Canada's. CFIA inspected three beef, two pork, and three poultry slaughter establishments, as well as four meat processing establishments producing Ready-to-Eat meat products. Inspectors also visited two government offices and one government laboratory. The audit found that USDA-FSIS's food safety system is "performing as intended in an adequate manner". The system meets the requirement for all six components. But two establishments had problems that would have required delistment if … [Read more...]

Food & Water Watch Exposes FSIS Mismanagement

Food & Water Watch sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack today containing examples of meat and poultry plants that have not been inspected because of severe shortages of government food inspection personnel. These examples "directly contradict statements made by high-ranking officials of the Food Safety and Inspection service (FSIS), both on USDA's website and before Congress." The letter states, "some products under the jurisdiction of USDA are entering commerce without the benefit of inspection, even though their packaging displays the 'Inspected and Passed' USDA inspection legend." USDA is responsible for overseeing the safety of the nation's meat, poultry, and egg supply. USDA has been hiring temporary inspectors since the spring of 2012 and freezing the hiring of … [Read more...]

Advocates Want to Stop Imported Beef from Privatized Inspections

Food & Water Watch is asking the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) to revoke the recognition of privatized inspection practices used in several countries that export red meat to the U.S.  Those countries are Canada, Australia, and New Zealand; government officials there have replaced government meat inspectors with company employees. A petition was filed June 6, 2014. These systems have been inspected by U.S. officials and found to be flawed. The Canadian High Line Speed Inspection System had numerous violations for improper sanitation, humane slaughter violations, and lack of enforcement of regulations. The Australian Expert Meat Inspection System is problematic; an email in December 2012 from Dr. Langbridge, Veterinary Counsel for the Australian Meat Industry Council … [Read more...]

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