For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Darcey Rakestraw, 202-683-2467; drakestraw@fwwatch.org

Another Friday News Dump: USDA Posts Alarming Data About Privatized Inspection at Poultry Plants

WASHINGTON - Last week, on the Friday evening after Thanksgiving Day, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service released alarming new data about poultry plants that have failed its latest salmonella testing for carcasses, parts and comminuted (ground or shredded) poultry. While the agency does not identify which plants have converted to the privatized inspection system, information obtained by Food & Water Watch from the USDA through Freedom of Information Act* shows that 24 of the plants that failed had converted to the privatized inspection model, the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS), and five of the plants failing have requested permission to convert.

“USDA has shown over and over again that poultry plants undergoing privatized inspections are a failure for ensuring important food safety standards,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “This scheme is nothing more than a way to grease the wheels for more industry profits fueled by less accountable food safety standards.”

Plants working under the NPIS are staffed with fewer USDA inspectors on the slaughter line, and most of the inspection duties are transferred to company employees. Under traditional inspection, there can be as many as four government inspectors assigned to a slaughter line with each inspector responsible for evaluating up to 35 carcasses per minute. Under NPIS, there is only one government inspector assigned to the slaughter line and he or she is responsible for inspecting up to three birds per second.

Recently, the USDA announced that it was allowing NPIS plants to increase line speeds from 140 to 175 birds per minute.

“USDA testing continually shows that plants under this privatized inspection model are producing unsafe food. Now, the agency is also allowing the poultry industry to rev up slaughter lines ever faster to increase profits,” said Hauter. “We will continue to hold the USDA accountable for these decisions that will have public health consequences—even as it yields more and more food safety oversight to the industry itself.”

Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.

* Plants that have converted to NPIS and failed one or more of the FSIS salmonella performance standards (for carcasses, parts and comminuted poultry) according to documents obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests:

P6505 -- Claxton Poultry Farms -- Claxton, GA -- (original HIMP plant): carcass and parts

P810 -- Pilgrims Pride -- Moorefield, WV -- (original HIMP plant): parts

P27389 -- Pittman Farms -- Sanger, CA: carcass and parts

P1257 -- Fielddale Farms -- Murrayville, GA: parts

P910 -- Harrison Poultry -- Bethlehem, GA: parts

P39 -- Miller Poultry (Pine Manor) -- Orland, IN: parts

P20604 -- Gerber Poultry -- Kidron, OH: parts and comminuted

P286 -- Perdue -- Washington, IN: comminuted

P34308 -- Sanderson Farms -- Waco, TX: carcass

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P51179 -- Sanderson Farms -- Palestine, TX: carcass

P19865 -- House of Raeford -- Arcadia, LA: carcass and parts

P34668 -- Simply Essentials -- Charles City, IA: carcass

P551 -- Jenny-O Turkey Store (turkey) -- Willmar, MN: comminuted

P244 -- Plainville Farms -- New Oxford, PA: comminuted

P45910 -- Sanderson Farms -- St. Pauls, NC: parts

P40183 -- Sanderson Farms -- Kinston, NC: carcass and parts

P963 -- Cargill (turkey) -- Springdale, AR: comminuted

P8727 -- Butterball (turkey) – Carthage, MO: comminuted

P622 -- Tyson Foods – Monroe, NC: comminuted    

Plants that are waiting to convert to the NPIS: 

P855 -- Pilgrims Pride -- Athens, GA: parts

P6519B -- Coastal Processing -- Louisville, GA: parts

P445 -- Wayne Farms -- Dobson, NC: parts

P44826 -- Case Farms -- Canton, OH: parts

P46826 -- Shenandoah Valley Organic -- Harrisonburg, VA: parts

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Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

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