Debate Heats Up Over Poultry Inspection Proposal

from Critics say privatization puts consumers at risk; FSIS says modernization will prevent illnesses, save tax dollars. If you listen to both critics and proponents of a new U.S. Department of Agriculture proposal to expand a pilot poultry inspection program, you might wonder if they’re talking about the same thing.  In January, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service proposed expanding the HACCP Based Inspection Models Project, known as HIMP, beyond the handful of plants that have been under the program, some since the late 1990s. The agency argues the move would help modernize an archaic inspection system, prevent 5,200 foodborne illnesses annually, and save taxpayers around $90 million over three years (on top of saving the poultry industry more than $250 million annually). It sounds win-win-win. Adding to the already heated debate, the Government Accountability Project (GAP), a whistle blower advocacy organization, late last week released affidavits from three unnamed FSIS inspectors who have served in both HIMP and non-HIMP poultry plants and are critical of expanding the pilot.

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