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A Commitment to Humane Handling in the Food Safety and Inspection Service

Posted by FSIS spokesperson in Health and Safety
Feb 21, 2017

The recent multistate outbreak of Salmonella has served as yet another reminder of the importance of a modern, effective food safety system in the United States. That’s why USDA has undertaken a comprehensive effort to modernize poultry slaughter inspection in ways that will reduce the risk for American families.

A recent story in the Washington Post shared claims by some that this new effort would compromise humane handling. The fact is, this proposal will better position our inspectors to ensure humane handling standards are being met – all while protecting American families from illness caused by Salmonella and Campylobacter.

USDA has long been committed to humane handling practices in slaughter and processing facilities. The Food Safety Inspection Service already provides training for all FSIS inspectors to observe alleged violations of humane handling standards and take action to address problems in slaughter and processing facilities. If a problem recurs, inspectors are trained to stop the plant from operating.  To be clear, nothing different would happen under the modernized system. In fact, FSIS inspection personnel would be more likely to observe a problem if one were to occur.

Our record on humane handling over the past four years speaks for itself.  The Agency has systematically improved humane handling policies and regulations, as well as enforcement. We’re proud of this record and FSIS will continue to improve and build upon our efforts to ensure humane handling. We would not put forward a proposal that would undermine those efforts.

The modernized system being developed by USDA would make food safer without compromising humane handling. Experts agree that it would significantly reduce foodborne illnesses – reducing dangerous pathogens like Salmonella to protect American families. Improving America’s food inspection system will do just that, and USDA is committed to undertaking this effort in a way that ensures even stronger humane handling measures in the future.

Category/Topic: Health and Safety

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Samantha HIcks
Nov 01, 2013

This inhumane treatment of animals HAS to stop. This is abominable. I cannot believe that this is allowed and practiced in this country and it makes the USA look like a 3rd-world country. STOP this slaughter - we KNOW where our food comes from. It doesn't have to be handled this way. PLEASE, PLEASE stop the horror!!!!!

Samantha HIcks
Nov 02, 2013

From what I am seeing on video, you are NOT doing your jobs!!! Why is this allowed - grinding up LIVE baby chicks. REALLY??? Beating calves to death with hammers, body slamming baby pigs to death. WHAT EXACTLY IS YOUR JOB? Why aren't these practices stopped? YOU ARE NO BETTER THAN THE HEATHENS in Thailand, Viet Nam and Japan who skin dogs, cats and rabbits alive for their FUR!!!! Disgusting. START DOING YOUR JOB!!!!!

Suzanne Reinman
Dec 05, 2013

How discouraging that your discussion concerns bacteria in human food instead of reducing the pain and suffering of the animals that you slaughter. Compassion for creatures that have the same DNA as you should be your focus, not salmonella.

Foster Leaf
Jan 21, 2014

How sad that FSIS is diverting taxpayer dollars allocated by Congress to ensure that our poultry is not adulterated, which is FSIS' statutory obligation, in order to push a social agenda, the humane handling of poultry, which is neither a problem nor an action authorized by Congress. Is FSIS a food safety agency or a puppet for the animal rights lobby?

Bea Elliott
Mar 06, 2014

From Webster’s New World Dictionary
Humane Hu·mane / hyoomáyn / adj. 1. having what are considered the best qualities of human beings; kind, tender, merciful, sympathetic, compassionate.

Where does the orchestrated, for profit killing of healthy, sentient beings fit into the "kind" or merciful act of slaughter? And of course this would all make sense *IF* we actually had to eat animals in order to live - But that just isn't so either.

It's a proven fact that repeats itself more each day, that we can thrive on a plant based diet. So all this fussing about how to "humanely" kill is nonsense! There is nothing "humane" about deliberately raising animals to slaughter when there are perfectly healthy, sustainable, affordable options not to. Please stop using that word to flower up and disguise the needless acts of butchery for greed and gluttony. Ethics and truth first. Economics are an unjustifiable, poor excuse for killing anyone!

Brian and Susan Bell
Sep 02, 2014

We would like specifics in regards to policy that "ensures even stinger humane handling measures in the future." It was only in recent weeks that the USDA dropped the increase in production speeds that would have resulted in more chickens being boiled alive, and the transparency coming from public (state and federal government) inspections is on the decline. Whistleblowers who want to photograph abuses are now subject to criminal charges and the companies themselves are now allowed to be self-monitoring. We, the public, for whom you work, want better treatment of food animals, more policies and laws to ensure humane treatment of animals, and better oversight over farmers and producers.

Dec 14, 2014

We at Frasier Bison, are committed & advocate for humane handling practices, from our place to any processor plant. We go their with the animal or visit the plants from time to time, if we are involved with that plant in our business. It all starts at home.