USDA sued over inspection modernization rule

Food worker unions announced a lawsuit against the Department of Agriculture this week over the new swine slaughter modernization rule. The rule eliminates the line speed limits in pork slaughter facilities. United Food and Commercial Workers, along with other unions, filed a federal lawsuit seeking to stop the rule.

A spokesperson says increasing pork plant line speeds “is not only a reckless giveaway to giant corporations, it will put thousands of workers in harm’s way.” The unions also say, “USDA admitted in its rule that it simply ignored the mounds of evidence that showed its actions will harm workers.”

The lawsuit alleges that the new rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act because it is not backed by “reasoned decision-making.” The groups say that even at current line speeds, swine slaughter and processing workers face many job risks that can lead to severe injury, illness and death, adding there “is no evidence that line speed increases can be done in a manner that ensures food and worker safety.”