There's only about two weeks left to tell the USDA why privatizing poultry inspection is a big mistake! GAP's Food Integrity Campaign has launched a petition telling Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to reject the program – known as HIMP – that hands government oversight duties to the poultry industry.
As FIC unveiled last week in three whistleblower affidavits, federal inspectors have raised serious concerns about HIMP, including the following:
- In some HIMP plants, only one federal inspector monitors up to 200 birds per minute (as opposed to the current standard of one federal inspector for every 35 birds per minute). This new standard means 10,000 birds per hour per federal inspector! That's an impossible rate to conduct proper health oversight.
- Under HIMP, inspectors would only be allowed to see the backside of the bird – not the front (where the breast meat is) that may clearly show tumors or scabs! Nor can HIMP inspectors see the inside of the bird, where fecal matter and other disease-causing abnormalities are found.
- Under HIMP plans, federal inspectors are replaced with plant workers who are powerless to speak out against their employers.
View the affidavits, with the USDA inspectors' detailed concerns, in full on FIC's main HIMP page. You can also read more about the program and stay updated on the latest media coverage on that page.
The USDA is accepting public comments on its terrifying HIMP plan until April 26, 2012. Make sure your voice is heard and please sign our petition today! FIC will make sure that, along with the affidavits we've collected from USDA inspectors, this petition and its signers will be submitted in official comments to the USDA!
Sarah Damian is New Media Associate for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.