In this file:
· U.S. pork processors face higher costs, slower speeds after court ruling
… The North American Meat Institute, which represents meat companies, said it was disappointed in the verdict. The institute has argued that line-speed increases have not correlated with increased injury rates...
· Food And Water Watch Says Court Ruling Positive For Processor Plant Worker Safety
· U.S. court slams brakes on Trump-era hog slaughter line speed rule; union cheers
U.S. pork processors face higher costs, slower speeds after court ruling
By Tom Polansek, Reuters
via Yahoo Finance - April 1, 2021
CHICAGO, April 1 (Reuters) - An industry group representing America's biggest meatpackers on Thursday pushed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to appeal a federal court decision that canceled an agency rule that allows pork plants to slaughter pigs more quickly.
The decision issued on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Minnesota could raise costs for meatpackers like Seaboard Foods and Clemens Food Group and slow meat production after COVID-19 outbreaks in slaughterhouses limited output last year.
A lawsuit brought against the USDA by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union had challenged the 2019 rule, arguing that faster slaughter speeds undermined worker safety.
A federal judge said there was no evidence the Trump era rule had evaluated worker safety. USDA says it is evaluating the decision.
The North American Meat Institute, which represents meat companies, said it was disappointed in the verdict. The institute has argued that line-speed increases have not correlated with increased injury rates...
Food And Water Watch Says Court Ruling Positive For Processor Plant Worker Safety
Radio 570 WNAX (SD)
Apr 2, 2021
A U.S. District Court in Minnesota has issued a decision regarding line speed limits at processing plants. Food and Water Watch’s Senior Staff Attorney Zach Corrigan calls the ruling a victory for processing plant workers.
He says the line speed rule was allowed prior to the pandemic and the need for quicker meat processing.
Corrigan says now it’s up to the USDA to rewrite the line speed rules for the processing plants...
more, including audio [1:29 min.]
U.S. court slams brakes on Trump-era hog slaughter line speed rule; union cheers
By Karl Plume, Reuters
via WTVB | 1590 AM · 95.5 FM | The Voice of Branch County - Mar 31, 2021
Coldwater, MI, USA / CHICAGO (Reuters) - The largest U.S. meatpacking union celebrated a victory in federal court on Wednesday that it said invalidated a Trump-era rule allowing hog slaughter plants to run without line speed limits.
A lawsuit brought against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and three of its local chapters had challenged the 2019 rule change, arguing that faster slaughter speeds undermined worker safety.
The ruling from a federal judge in Minnesota will likely be criticized by the U.S. pork industry as it tries to rebuild supplies of meat after COVID-19 outbreaks shuttered slaughterhouses last spring.
Seaboard Foods, the second-biggest U.S. pig producer after Smithfield Foods, sped up its Guymon, Oklahoma, pork plant last year, becoming the first company to operate under the new rule. Workers told Reuters the faster line speeds increased injuries at the plant.
The 2019 rule change allowed pork plants to slaughter as fast as they want, as long as they prevent fecal contamination and minimize bacteria. Previously, the government imposed a limit of 1,106 pigs per hour.
President Joe Biden's administration, which pledges to prioritize worker safety, quickly withdrew a Trump administration proposal to allow all poultry plants to operate faster-than-established line speed limits. But reversing the pork rule was expected to be trickier, lawyers and analysts said, because it was already in effect.
A USDA spokesperson said...
Minnesota judge rejects rule that let pork plants speed up production
By Josh Funk, Associated Press
via Star Tribune (MN) - April 1, 2021
OMAHA, Neb. — A federal judge has thrown out a rule allowing pork plants to speed up production lines because the U.S. Department of Agriculture didn't properly consider the risks to workers.
The judge in Minnesota ruled Wednesday that the agency's Food Safety and Inspection Service didn't follow proper procedures before President Donald Trump's administration issued the rule in 2019. The lawsuit was filed by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union along with local unions in Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and Oklahoma and the nonprofit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.
U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen said the agency "expressly identified worker safety as an important consideration and requested public comment on whether increasing line speeds would harm workers. Then, after receiving many comments raising worker safety concerns, FSIS rejected the comments and eliminated line speed limits without considering worker safety."
The USDA said Thursday that the agency is reviewing the ruling, and it remains "deeply committed to worker safety and a safe, reliable food supply."
Union officials praised the ruling...