The High Speed of Meat and Poultry Processing Contaminates Meat and Injures Workers.

  • by: Midwest Coalition for Human Rights 
  • target: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Secretary of Agriculture; Occupational Health and Safety Administration,  Assistant Secretary of Labor; Department of Labor,  Secretary of Labor
Many modern plants process over 400 cattle per hour; more than six live animals per minute to processed meat. These processing companies require employees maintain a high rate of production because of slim profit margins. Individual line workers can make 20,000 cutting motions in a day. As a result workers often develop crippling cumulative trauma disorders, hands and limbs can be mangled by meat processing machines, and workers may sustain deep wounds from knives that slip. Workers are exposed to these dangers every day.
These injuries are directly related to the speed of the line, which compromises the heath of workers and also contaminates the meat they process. Food borne illness is a rising problem because fecal matter from recently slaughtered animals splatters on the meat in a sloppy rush to maintain the fast production speed. 
These processing companies should not be allowed to also put the lives of their workers and consumers at risk for profit. Food safety cannot be maintained for consumers when worker safety is not maintained. 
Take action today by signing this petition to encourage the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to slow down meat packing line speed.
For more information, go to www.midwesthumanrights.org

 Dear Secretaries:

We the undersigned believe that the speed of work in meat and poultry processing plants moves too fast. The meatpacking industry's injury rate is nearly double that of U.S. manufacturing as a whole. These injuries are directly related to the speed of the line, which compromises the safety of workers and the safety of the meat they process. Food safety cannot be maintained for consumers when worker safety is not maintained. 

The USDA has a daily presence in most meat processing plants, and should demand that meat processors maintain safe conditions to ensure both the safety of the worker and safety of the consumer. USDA inspectors must make it a priority to notify OSHA of unsafe work conditions in order to effectively carry out the duties of both agencies. OSHA must also make meat processing work speed a priority. Together you must slow down the speed of the line. 

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