An old country saying notes: “You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken manure.” However, President Obama’s department of agriculture intends for us to give it a try.
Chicken contaminated with chicken manure is one likely result to come from the ag department’s dangerous and ridiculous determination to privatize poultry inspection in some 200 processing plants across the country. Currently, government inspectors — who’re professionally trained in food safety — are stationed along the processing lines in the factory operations of such giants as Tyson Foods. They examine the birds for diseases and visible defects, including — yes — contamination by feces.
But the Obamacans have a “modernization” plan to remove these skilled, independent inspectors and let corporations police their own lines with untrained company hirelings. In addition, the privatization scheme would allow the poultry plants to speed up their lines to an absurd 175 birds per minute! To justify this, USDA notes that it has been running a pilot project on privatization in 20 chicken factories since 1999.
Yes — but the “modernizers” did not mention that salmonella rates in the privatized plants were higher than those having government inspectors. Just as alarming, of the poultry operations that failed the most recent salmonella tests, a disproportionate share were using the spiffy self-policing model. Worse, government inspectors who observed the corporate-controlled system report that when the company inspectors tried to be thorough about safety or even tried to remove diseased birds from the line, they were yelled at, reprimanded and shunned.
This senseless rush to privatize is literally sickening. For more information and clean food alternatives, go to Food & Water Watch at www.FoodAndWaterWatch.org.
Respond: firstname.lastname@example.org This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.