Vilsack expects poultry line speed waiver extensions

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says USDA will likely extend the waivers allowing faster poultry processing line speeds.  He says, “I think we will see an extension of this because we want to make sure we get the right information about whether or not line speeds actually do relate to increased worker injury or workers safety. That’s the whole purpose of this, is to try to find out what the facts are.”

USDA is currently studying the effects of increased poultry line speeds on worker safety for future rulemaking by the agency. “We need to structure these studies in a way that gives us the information. I’m not interested in making decisions on this until I have all of the facts. I don’t have all of the facts yet.”

The USDA was sued by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which said the ten active waivers endanger workers and violate the agency’s own rules.

Vilsack made his comments during the recent Senate Ag Committee USDA oversight hearing.

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