Meat/Poultry Inspection

Consumer Federation of America Opposes Opaque Scheme to Privatize Beef Slaughter Inspection

Statement of Thomas Gremillion, Director of Food Policy

Washington, D.C. We were disappointed to learn today that the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service has approved a request from Tyson Foods to waive requirements for government inspectors at its Holcomb, Kansas beef slaughter plant (Est. M-278). Last summer, Tyson requested a regulatory wavier that would allow it to rely on company employees, rather than government inspectors, to conduct postmortem inspection activities, including identifying and trimming “isolated defects” and identifying conditions that would require additional disposition by a government public health veterinarian. When consumer advocates requested a copy of the waiver petition, USDA disclosed a heavily redacted document that gave little indication that the waiver would actually improve food safety. Consumers also raised concerns that granting waivers on a piecemeal basis would thwart any attempt to measure the impact of these “modernization” reforms. Now, FSIS appears to be using the global pandemic as an excuse to rush through this ill-conceived deregulatory plan.