Members of the Safe Food Coalition called on the Office of Management and Budget and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to release a revised version of USDA’s proposed rule to modify its poultry slaughter inspection program, open the rule up for a comment period of 120 days, and hold public meetings on the revised rule.
Last week, USDA announced it was sending a revised version of its proposed poultry rule to the Office of Management and Budget for review. In doing so, USDA officials said that the rule had been significantly changed based on stakeholder feedback.
However, in a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and OIRA Administrator Howard Shelanski, members of the Safe Food Coalition noted that “stakeholders have no information about what those changes entail. We have raised numerous concerns about the negative impact USDA’s proposal will have on food safety and consumer protection. Many other public interest groups, members of Congress and even other government agencies have raised concerns as well. Considering the importance of this rule, the public should be given an opportunity to comment on the changes made to the proposal before the rule is finalized.”
The groups noted that the Food and Drug Administration is carrying out just such an action: “FDA published a proposed rule in 2013 implementing the produce safety provision of the Food Safety Modernization Act. Following the close of the comment period and in response to widespread stakeholder concerns, FDA announced that it would revise its proposal and re-publish it for public comment. FDA’s approach would ensure that the public has an opportunity to comment on substantial changes to its proposed rule before it goes into effect.”
Members of the Safe Food Coalition have repeatedly expressed serious food safety concerns with USDA’s proposed rule.