A bipartisan group of 13 U.S. senators sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to move forward with a proposal to modernize the department's poultry inspection system.
The voluntary change would allow plant employees to check carcasses for defects and perform other quality assurance tasks, not related to food safety, before FSIS conducts online carcass inspections. Supporters of the rule say this would free up some federal inspectors to focus more on food safety-related tasks, according to Agri-Pulse.
The Senate letter comes on the heels of a similar letter in the House sent from the House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas (R.-Okla.) and ranking member Collin Peterson (D.-Minn.).
The National Turkey Federation and National Chicken Council support the rule. But the National Consumers League and the AFL-CIO, as well as other groups, oppose the rule, arguing the new system could result in serious repercussions for food and worker safety.