Deregulation of Pork Raises Concerns Over Food Safety
This month changes to the way pork inspections are carried out in the U.S. have many watchdog groups concerned about public safety.
The deregulation enacted by the Trump administration, will allow the pork industry to develop its own tests and grade itself on microbiological contamination.
Inspections once carried out by USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) in slaughterhouses can now mainly be performed by slaughterhouse employees and not government inspectors.
At a slaughterhouse a pig is killed and broken down into parts. From there the carcass and parts travel down a conveyor belt of sorts. Prior to the new regulation the conveyor belt speed could not exceed 3.5 seconds allowing government inspectors time to check the passing product for abnormalities and defects.
Moving forward there could be be more pork company employees and fewer government inspectors checking product under the new guidelines.
Another major change is there is no longer be a minimum line speed at which the passing product is inspected before heading off to market. The speed of the line can be determined by each individual company.
It is to early to tell if companies in the swine business will continue with a business as usual approach or adopt the new guidelines.
Concerns by public health watchdogs and animal welfare groups could not stop the deregulation. The new regulations to the way pork can be inspected are the first changes of its kind in 50 years.
Cases of Salmonella is the most common cause of illness from pork. The Centers for Disease Control has estimated that over 500,000 people become sick and over 80 die each year from food-borne illness connected to eating pork.
The deregulation of the pork industry may lead to an increase in the ever-growing plant-based products that have entered the mainstream. Major restaurant chains like Burger King, Dunkin’, Red Robin, TGI Fridays and grocery stores Big Y, Market Basket, and Costco are among the many retail outlets now offering a wide variety of meatless options.