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Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro

Representing the 3rd District of Connecticut

House Appropriations Committee Passes DeLauro Swine Slaughter Amendment

June 4, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC — The House Appropriations Committee today passed an amendment offered by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) and Congressman David Price (NC-04) to the Fiscal Year 2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill. The DeLauro-Price Swine Slaughter Amendment prioritizes food safety inspections, workers, consumers and animal welfare by requiring the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Inspector General (IG) to submit its findings on the data used to develop the proposed rule to changes to Swine Slaughter Inspection. It also required the USDA to resolve any issues identified before implementing the rule.

Below are DeLauro’s remarks as prepared for delivery, and a video of her remarks can be found here.

I have an amendment at the desk and ask for unanimous consent that the reading be dispensed with.

I offer this amendment with my colleague from North Carolina, Mr. Price.

Our amendment would require the Inspector General to submit its findings on the underlying data the Department of Agriculture used to develop and design its proposed rule to ‘Modernize’ Swine Slaughter Inspection. The amendment would then require USDA to address and resolves any issues identified by the IG prior to implementing the proposed rule.

The proposed rule is an attempt to give multinational meat processors more authority and control over the health and safety conditions in their own plants, and it transfers vital inspection duties currently performed by USDA Inspectors, to company employees — “company-based inspection.” If this rule is finalized, I believe it will endanger food safety inspections, workers, consumers and animal welfare.

 

The proposed rule removes all limitations on line speeds in hog slaughter plants, which will endanger the health and safety of tens of thousands of workers in meatpacking plants. Unlimited line speeds also negatively impact humane animal handling and the ability to maintain food safety safeguards.

Additionally, USDA has refused to developed standards to test for Salmonella and other harmful pathogens in pork, which were in place when a similar rule was issued for poultry during the Obama Administration. Without these standards in place, we have no assurances that the Department will be able to tell if the new inspection system is making our food more or less safe.

Moreover, according the National Employment Law Project, FSIS failed to seek peer review from of its risk assessment on the rule in violation of rulemaking requirements set by OMB. The agency also hid from the public the worker safety analysis they relied on in this rulemaking—refusing to make it available to the public during the rule’s comment period.

And, when the data was made available, independent, expert researchers who analyzed it determined that USDA used flawed analysis and that it based its findings on erroneous assumptions. That is why I believe we need to have the Inspector General take a serious look at the underlying data USDA used in crafting this rule, and I ask my colleagues to support this amendment to ensure that this occurs before USDA implements these changes.

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