At poultry plants allowed to run faster processing lines, a greater risk of Covid-19

Forty percent of the poultry plants participating in the USDA's controversial line speed waiver program have had Covid-19 outbreaks, according to an analysis of FERN’s outbreaks database. Labor advocates have warned that faster speeds on crowded processing lines could expose slaughterhouse workers to a greater risk of Covid-19, and even the top federal workplace authority has suggested that meatpackers reduce line speeds to curb the spread of the virus.(No paywall)

Deputy moves to top job at U.S. meat safety agency

Paul Kiecker went to work as a USDA food inspector in 1988 and three decades later is the new leader of the Food Safety Inspection Service. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the appointment of Keicker as FSIS administrator on Tuesday, succeeding Carmen Rottenberg, who is leaving the …

House passes spending bill, including amendment to delay hog slaughter rule

The House passed a $383 billion spending package Tuesday, including an amendment that would delay a USDA proposed rule to shift more of the responsibility for hog inspections to companies. Under the amendment, which is co-sponsored by Democratic Reps. DeLauro of Connecticut and Price of …

USDA bans slaughter of ‘downer’ calves

More than a decade after it banned slaughter of "downer" cattle to provide meat for human consumption, USDA said it will ban slaughter of veal calves that are unable to stand or walk when they arrive at packing plants. The Food Safety and Inspection Service said the ban, to take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, will mean that the calves receive better treatment.

Farm, consumer groups ask USDA to reinstate ‘grass-fed beef’ label

Two months after USDA terminated a voluntary program for labeling grass-fed beef, nine farm and consumer groups asked the department to spell out the conditions for using the term.