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Some of the 17,000 poultry at Seldom Rest Farms located, north of Myerstown, PA, on Wednesday, April 20, 2011. The chickens are kept in a two story chicken house and produce approximately 2.5 million chicks each year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture still hasn't dropped its plan to speed up chicken processing lines from 140 chickens per minute to 175 and allow "visibly contaminated" chicken carcasses to stay on regular processing lines rather than being taken away for cleaning. That would mean all the chickens would be sprayed with extra antimicrobial chemicals—and that means added problems for workers who already face a 42 percent rate of carpal tunnel syndrome from the repetitive, fast-moving work they do (with knives, by the way):
On the chemical-spray front ... Atlanta's WSB-TV News, shows that some USDA inspectors in the southeast are complaining publicly that the antimicrobial sprays are causing them, as well as line workers, serious respiratory troubles. The Atlanta report builds on an excellent 2013 story by the Washington Post's Kimberly Kindy, who conducted interviews with more than two dozen USDA inspectors and poultry industry employees, and found 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."
Does the USDA really want the answer to "what's for dinner?" to be "visibly contaminated chicken sprayed with lots of chemicals and processed by a worker with carpal tunnel, a rash, and sinus ulcers"? If not, it's time to pull this proposed speed-up, for food safety and worker safety alike.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:15 AM PDT.

Also republished by KosAbility and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Not a lot of hope with Vilsack running USDA (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Involuntary Exile

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:18:16 AM PDT

    •  Exactly (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TKO333, akze29

      Yet another neoliberal fox guarding the hen house.

      •  of course... (0+ / 0-)

        Another front page post about the meat industry....and not a word from the Front pager... as usual. On the horrific, inhumane, brutal disgusting and heartbreaking treatment of the animals it so abuses. But she does give us another ugly visual. Not even thinking how damn offensive and sad it is for some of us. The fact that those sentient beings are so pumped up with antibiotics and shit food jusypt another reason not to consume them, in addition to everything else wrong. But if falls on deaf ears. Everywhere it seems. Greed rules the day. Even here....if it means getting something cheap.

        •  I am relatively new to some of Kos terms (0+ / 0-)

          so I  am missing the point about "front page post."  Is it about Laura Clawson or KOS editors.

          The reason I am asking is that there are some grey areas to this story that need documentation or clarification.  The speed at which a "processing plant" produces a finished product requires several hundred workers.  So increasing the output by 35 birds a second is misleading. This is not about a single processing line.  140 carcasses a minute means 2.3 birds a second would go by a single station.  It would not  be possible for a single employee to accomplish this task.  So how many "lines" are there?  I am not trying to absolve the USDA of neglect but wish the poster had done a better job of describing the process and not make a blanket indictment of all of the industry.  When consumers become enlightened  and demand changes they will go up against the teacons who want much less regulation on corporations.  So a poster who blames "neo-liberal" isn't even close to being accurate.  Corporate interest in maximizing profits drive demands for fewer regulations and we all know who is in the pocket of corporate America.


          Banks will only lend you money if you can prove you don't need it.

          by olegar on Sat May 03, 2014 at 06:39:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Who's side are they on?! n/t (4+ / 0-)

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:19:21 AM PDT

    •  neither ours nor the chickens' (7+ / 0-)

      . . . that's for sure.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:30:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Big Food's. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, JeffW

      The military industrial complex.  The oligarchy.

      Whatever you want to call it today.

      "Woe to those who make unjust laws,
    to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights
    and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, 
making widows their prey
    and robbing the fatherless."

      by Snarky McAngus on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 12:21:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •   feces, chemicals, sinus ulcers, carpal tunnel= (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


      •  Also, increased bacterial resistance = (0+ / 0-)

        money. They're killing the next generation of TB sufferers, and giving staph - which sure as hell doesn't need it - another all day all night pass into the country's ICUs.

    •  on the consumer side (0+ / 0-)

      Who wants cheap plentiful chicken. Honestly, the chemical spray and the worker injuries are the least of our problems. The antibotics used in raising the chickens are killing people everyday.  In 2013 2 million people were infected with drug resistant bacteria, and 23,000 died.  Some of these were directly a result of the overuse of antibiotics.

      There is a myth that wealth implies meat consumption.  Yes, when one moves from poverty to some expendable income, meat consumption does increase from almost none to significant, if one does not live in the US.  In the US, of course, it is often cheaper to get a bucket of chicken than to prepare a real meal.  Then it is cheaper to throw away the uneaten chicken rather than making a second meal of soup.

      It is useless to talk about regulation, to talk about workers, unless we talk about the fact that consumer expect chicken to be so cheap that they can through away more than they eat.

  •  The USDA is only partly funded by (6+ / 0-)

    taxpayer money. Many programs are funded by industry dollars. The USDA can't serve two masters with conflicting needs.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:21:27 AM PDT

    •  Oh, don't worry. They don't. nt (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, Devolved

      "Woe to those who make unjust laws,
    to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights
    and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, 
making widows their prey
    and robbing the fatherless."

      by Snarky McAngus on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 12:22:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  and some folks wonder why other folks choose (7+ / 0-)

    vegetarianism . . .

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 09:30:55 AM PDT

    •  Glad I'm vegan (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Crider, LinSea, corvo

      This kind of craziness isn't the reason I went vegan, but I am so glad I made that decision years ago.

      The chickens get the worst of it, but the humans who kill the chickens and the humans who eat them suffer, too.

      •  Meat is just dirty (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LinSea, True North, corvo

        Doesn't matter if it is even cooked, because cross contamination from chicken preparation lays chicken fecal bacteria all over the kitchen from the hands. Then it takes up residence in your (chicken-eater's) gut.

        The colonization of the human gut by antibiotic resistant Escherichia coli from chickens

        "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

        by Crider on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 10:17:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Costco Chickens (0+ / 0-)

          We only eat Costco's rotisserie chickens anymore, and I'm SURE they wash them thoroughly before impaling them!  Well, I hope they do, but I'm almost 70 and worry a lot less about what I eat than I used to.  I figure I've already had a life span, so whatever.  It's sorta liberating.

          On the other hand, I still care about the health of the people working in these horrible places---and the living conditions of the chickens.  OH, CRAP!  Now I care again!

    •  Nah. We know religion when we see it. (0+ / 0-)

      "If anybody is wondering about Tom’s qualifications, Tom is the only member of both the cable television and the wireless industry hall of fame. So he’s like the Jim Brown of telecom, or the Bo Jackson of telecom.” President Obama

      by JesseCW on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 12:04:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  not sure I understand (0+ / 0-)

        which is the religion . . .

        Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

        by corvo on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 12:32:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Should point out that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LinSea, Snarky McAngus
    allow "visibly contaminated" chicken carcasses to stay on regular processing lines rather than being taken away for cleaning.
    ...what happens now is that they're pulled, treated, and tossed back on the line.

    I'm not saying the current policy is good, I'm saying that the proposed policy is not that much worse.

  •  I saw a chicken the other day holding up (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    a sign saying "Eat more Beef". Now I know why.

  •  Why do chickens cross roads? Little old ladies. (0+ / 0-)

    I got into a fight today with a 10 year old boy scout carrying a chicken. It was over who was going to help a little old lady cross the road. The little snot attempted to earn a merit badge off of me by tying me in a perfectly cinched square knot. During all of the commotion, the chicken ended up helping the nice lady get to the other side.
    When it comes to the safety of little old ladies, only dead chickens are really, really gross.

    Some days it just makes more sense to climb out of the window when I leave my house.

    by glb3 on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 10:47:47 AM PDT

  •  USDA is not a consumer protection agency (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It is an antiquated, government funded trade group that looks out for the interests of agriculture and livestock producers.

    Any USDA "approved" sticker on your food is meaningless.  It is there only to ensure the food is acceptable enough to protect the producer from litigation.

    •  I think you are right (0+ / 0-)

      Beneficial change will probably be state and market driven...NOT by the USDA, for your above reasons. For instance, USA clean air rules (and autombile efficiciency) has in large measure come about because of California's early clean air regulations. Not the feds. Automakers can't afford to NOT sell cars in California, so the tail wagged the dog, to the benefit of all our lungs and MPG. Midwest states are in an uproar about California's new law, that will mandate that eggs sold in California are to be produced in more humane conditions than are now accepted. As I understand them, the new CA rules will NOT force anyone, anywhere, to abide by these CA rules: It just says: You can't bring your eggs to market here, if they are not produced up to our standards. Of course, the midwest egg laying states are in an uproar: Restraint of trade,  etc, damned communist California, etc. BS, IMO. Meanwhile, California's cage-free egg producers are already charging, and getting, top dollar for their more humanely produced eggs. --No complaints from them.
      I worked summers on a poultry processing assembly line. The speeds proposed are not conducive to a quality, healthy product. What is does do, is allow USDA to "inspect" more chicken carcasses with the same, or a fewer number of USDA or USDA-approved inspectors. Such personnel are required in a slaughter house. Or, at least they were. It's been a while since I've been there. (Not going back, thank you.)

  •  Factory farming is already really, really gross. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hester, mickT, Krush, Rosedale

    This would make it more gross, but it's important to realize that we're already at pretty epic levels of grossness. Also pretty epic levels of waste, pollution and cruelty.

    Yeah, there's basically nothing good here.

    "You want weapons? We're in a library! Books! The best weapons in the world! This room is the greatest arsenal we could have—arm yourselves!" -The Doctor

    by quillsinister on Fri May 02, 2014 at 11:54:08 AM PDT

  •  Chicken (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Buy organic chickens raised range free too. Buy eggs from cage free chickens, organic too!

    •  Better yet, raise your own. Our local hatchery (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rosedale, Kevskos

      in North Central Ohio tells me that suburban, and even urban backyard flocks are growing like crazy.  

      •  We have four (0+ / 0-)

        hens in our yard, the family across the street has 6 and a rooster and the older couple a few doors down has three hens.  I love my chickens and they seem to like me.  The Rhode Island reds can be a little mean though.

        "In short, I was a racketeer for Capitalism" Marine Corp Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler

        by Kevskos on Fri May 02, 2014 at 07:46:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That is a dream that isn't (0+ / 0-)

        remotely accessible to most of the 78 million who live in the ten major cities in the US. Most large cities have regulations about harboring livestock and even regulate some gardening.  Then there are those "Organic" providers that have skirted safety regulations that betray the trust of consumers.  Some vegans and vegetarians have the idea that a tag of "organically grown" guarantees purity and that can be a myth.

        Banks will only lend you money if you can prove you don't need it.

        by olegar on Sat May 03, 2014 at 05:49:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  If they speed up the lines fast enough (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Friend of the court

    All that will emerge from the end will be "pureed, chicken-like product."

    Just what the Monsanto ordered.

    Who the hell is in charge of that worthless USDA anyway?

    And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

    by Pale Jenova on Fri May 02, 2014 at 06:48:00 PM PDT

  •  and vocal pathology (0+ / 0-)

    a patient tells me that 5 other workers in the same job area at the chicken plant now have had diagnoses of vocal cord lesions.  

  •  Beef prices are rising, dramatically... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...and more people and restaurants are [turning to] chicken.  The demand is pretty the processing plants are looking to speed up production, and clearly the USDA is looking to accommodate that "need."

    In our house, we've simply chosen to go meatless more often.  And frankly, I think that's best from all angles.

    "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." ~ Steven Biko

    by Marjmar on Fri May 02, 2014 at 07:08:23 PM PDT

  •  Perhaps it has been done already, (0+ / 0-)

    But which companies are doing this, so I don't buy and eat that chemically contaminated shit covered meat?

  •  On the Take (0+ / 0-)

    Somebody at the USDA needs to be inspected.

    I would tell you the only word in the English language that has all the vowels in order but, that would be facetious.

    by roninkai on Fri May 02, 2014 at 07:53:39 PM PDT

    •  You think so? (0+ / 0-)

      If I could change a lifetime (70+) years of eating I probably would.  

      I am intimately familiar with the poultry industry of NE Oklahoma and  western Louisiana.  Most of the millions of consumers who eat meat, dairy and poultry products in the US have no idea of the inhumane cycle of life the animals go through.  There is also the pressure on growers, trying to stay within the boundaries of decency,  having to bow to the demands of the huge (people!) corporations who want them to skirt regulations and also bear the costs of increased demands for larger production quantities.

      This link will make those of us on the edge of limited disposable income, tip toward eschewing beef as a staple.

      The USDA as well as the US Forest Service and the Corps of Engineers aren't agencies for the interest of citizens of this Nation - they are to enhance the profits of the multi-national community.  

      A little OT but Republicans will turn a blinded eye to the massive corporate welfare yet deny the extension of un-employement benefits for millions, cut food stamp programs for the poor and needy and scream like pigs stuck under a gate because some US citizens will get health care.  Go figure.

      Banks will only lend you money if you can prove you don't need it.

      by olegar on Sat May 03, 2014 at 06:10:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So is there, like, a comment period? (0+ / 0-)

    Or is this just an administrative action, rather than a new rule?

  •  At least it's not a Republican Brand regime (0+ / 0-)

    pushing for corporate interests via the USDA.

    Makes all the difference.

    The 1% are Purists: They only support Candidates that Deliver Results They Can Bank On. Don't they know they should compromise? /sarcasm

    by Johnathan Ivan on Fri May 02, 2014 at 11:32:51 PM PDT

  •  Comparison (0+ / 0-)

    Interesting that we are concerned with spraying chickens with chemicals and injecting antibiotics into them, but not concerned with injecting some pretty nasty toxic chemicals (aluminum) into our own infants.


  •  Factory-farmed chicken (0+ / 0-)

    is bad for you and bad for the planet.  Pass it on.  

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Sat May 03, 2014 at 07:43:59 AM PDT

  •  USDA forcing people to go Vegetarian (0+ / 0-)

    Disclosure: I am a vegan and it should be pretty obvious why. Knowing this, who in their right mind would ingest chicken anymore?

    •  Totally agree (0+ / 0-)

      Once in a while I used to cheat if I were at someone's house and they were cooking chicken, especially if it were someone who didn't have a lot of financial resources to cook dinner and surprised me with an invite....but no more.  

      Not only that, we should educate our carnivourous friends about this.

      When nobody is eating meat anymore maybe they'll get the hint.

      In the meantime, if you're eating meat, eat free range, organic. It's expensive so you'll have to eat beans and rice or pasta on some of the days you used to eat meat.

      Helping a food pantry on the Cheyenne River Reservation,Okiciyap.

      by betson08 on Mon May 05, 2014 at 09:11:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "It's the industries dirty little secret..." (0+ / 0-)

    ...said Amanda Hitt, with the Government Accountability Project’s Food Integrity Campaign.
    She said the industry is under pressure to keep the levels of deadly bacteria down, and do it in the most cost-effective way, “they just blast them with these chemicals and send them on their way to your store shelves.”

  •  One more reason. (0+ / 0-)

    If anyone hasn't noticed; all of the agencies that were created to protect us have been bought and owned by the various corporations. The UDSA; agri-business/pharmaceuticals: FDA; pharmaceuticals: EPA; all environmental destroyers. What was once our government has become a facilitator for the corporate agendas. With the passage of TPP (and you know it will pass), we will no longer have any access to decisions concerning corporate actions.

    I intend to move to Israel where I would rather take a chance on getting blown up by a rocket from Gaza than ingesting the chemical soup our food supply has become. When the superbug from the overuse of antibiotics (which will surely happen), wipes out a large part of the corporate consumer base, that is when the corporations will show some concern. It is purely their bottom line that is of any importance.

  •  And again... (0+ / 0-)

    it all comes down to the corruption of our Government !
    Save America, take money out of politics today and end the corruption tomorrow.

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