By HoneyColony Staff
Activist and poultry processing worker Carmen Sanabria drafts a fast-moving petition on Credo to stop the USDA from dismantling necessary food safety regulations that could harm workers and put toxic chickens on the dinner table:
TO: THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The proposed poultry modernization rule is bad for food safety and bad for workers. I urge you to go back to the drawing board and propose a new rule that will ensure that chicken processed in the United States is safe to eat, and that poultry processing workers are given the workplace protections they deserve.
Why is this important?
The Obama administration is preparing to finalize a dangerous new rule for how chickens in the United States are inspected.
If the rule is finalized, food safety inspection staff would be slashed, at the same time that production line speeds are allowed to accelerate. As a result, chickens contaminated by feces, bile and scabs would not be pulled from the line, but instead would “pass” the new inspection standards and then simply be rinsed in an anti-microbial bleach solution before being packaged and sold to consumers.
As a mother of five children and a poultry processing worker, I’m frightened by the USDA’s “modernization” plan. In order to speed up poultry production, the plan would cut 75% of USDA inspectors and put companies – rather than government officials – in charge of inspecting most of the chicken processed in the United States.
In 12 years, I’ve worked in four different poultry factories, and the injustices and indignity workers experience are always the same. One of the worst problems I’ve experienced is that the line speed is far too fast for our hands to keep up with the meat speeding by on conveyer belts. But USDA’s new rule would drastically increase the line speed, making it impossible for poultry processing workers to do our jobs properly by making sure the chickens are clean.
Making the same motions every day also gives workers disabling repetitive motion injuries. The pain drills into my nerves and bones. When I come home I can’t carry my youngest child, and I worry about the day my arms won’t move enough to work anymore.
Food safety experts, good government organizations, health & safety groups have all told the USDA that this rule is bad. Quite simply, it is bad for food safety and bad for poultry workers like me.
Like every mother, I worry about the food I feed my children and what they’re eating in school. I think about how much worse it’s going to be under the USDA’s new rule. Please join me in raising your voice against the USDA’s proposed ruling.
How it will be delivered
The petition signatures will be unfurled in front of the White House at a September 26 petition delivery event. They will also be emailed to the USDA.