Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tainted Chicken Coming To A Store Near You.......

(Everything in this story is bad news.  Bad… bad…. and more bad.  Enjoy your chicken dinner.  I am sure it will be tasty………)

“Agriculture Department health inspectors say processing plants are turning to the chemicals to remove contaminants that escape notice as processing line speeds have accelerated  (That is bad)

“The department is now poised to allow a further increase in line speeds, boosting the maximum speed by about 25 percent. This change is part of new regulations that officials say would make poultry production more efficient and transfer more responsibility for inspections to industry. (that is bad)

“To keep speeds up, the new regulations would allow visibly contaminated birds to remain on the lines — rather than being discarded or removed for off-line cleaning (That is really bad)

“all carcasses” on the line would be treated with antimicrobial chemicals “whether they are contaminated or not.” (That is bad)

“In a private report to the House Appropriations Committee, the USDA said where plants have already accelerated line speeds, workers have been exposed to larger amounts of cleaning agents. “The use of powerful antimicrobial chemicals has increased in order to decrease microbial loads on carcasses,” (That is bad)

“USDA inspectors and poultry industry employees described a range of ailments they attributed to chemical exposure, including asthma and other severe respiratory problems, burns, rashes, irritated eyes and sinus ulcers and other sinus problems. (That is bad)

“inspectors reporting illnesses and injuries due to chemical exposure in poultry plants where slaughter line speeds have already increased. (That is bad)

“They are mixing chemicals together in these plants, and it’s making people sick,” said Hitt. “Does it work better at killing off pathogens? Yes, but it also can send someone into respiratory arrest.” (That is bad)

“government agencies have not conducted independent research into the possible side effects on consumers of using the chemicals. Instead, they review data provided by chemical manufacturers. (That is bad)

“Nor has the USDA studied the effects of the chemicals on its inspectors or private employees. USDA officials said that research into worker safety is a job for other agencies. But no industry-wide study has been done by the government, and it does not keep a comprehensive record of illnesses possibly caused by the use of chemicals in the poultry industry. (That is bad)

“at least five facilities had problems with chemicals during the past three years, according to agency documents. The most common citations were for failing to properly label hazardous chemicals, failing to train employees on how to handle the chemicals and a failure to have monitoring equipment in place that would detect when chemicals, such as ammonia, reach toxic levels in a plant. (That is bad)

“During the investigation at the plant, inspectors and plant workers offered a raft of complaints. They said they suffered from irritation to their respiratory system, two reported “coughing up blood,” and still others had “various skin diseases,” an OSHA report said. (That is bad)

“If the White House signs off on the USDA’s proposed regulations as expected, poultry plants could speed up their slaughter lines later this year.(Obama is definitely looking out for the little guy)

The maximum speed for chickens would increase from 140 birds per minute to 175 birds per minute, for turkeys 45 to 55 per minute. Workers, who already often complain of carpal tunnel and other musculoskeletal disorders, will have to pluck, chop and sort birds even faster. (That is bad)

At the same time, the new regulations would reduce the number of federal health inspectors in the plants by as much as 40 percent. (That is bad)

There are financial incentives for both the USDA and the industry: The agency expects to save $90 million during the next three years from the staff reductions, and poultry plants could save more than $200 million annually. (That is bad…for the consumer and the worker.  Great for the executives)

The combination of faster processing and fewer government eyeballs means that companies will increasingly rely on chemicals to keep the poultry free of contaminants,  (That is bad)

“They don’t talk about it publicly, but the line speeds are so fast, they are not spotting contamination, like fecal matter, as the birds pass by (That is bad)

“Their attitude is, let the chemicals do the work.”  (That is bad)

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