Thursday, April 1, 2021

Judge scraps speedier pork packer line speeds

United States District Judge Joan N. Ericksen has thrown out a federal agriculture department provision that allowed pork packers to ignore line speed limits.

She said the agency’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) rejected comments on worker safety when it proposed unlimited line speeds as part of the New Swine Inspection System (NSIS), siding with the United Food and Commercial Workers’ (UFCW) contention that the agency violated the Administrative Procedure Act.

“When FSIS proposed the NSIS, it expressly identified worker safety as an important consideration and requested public comment on whether increasing line speeds would harm workers,” Ericksen wrote in her order. 

“Then, after receiving many comments raising worker safety concerns, FSIS rejected the comments and eliminated line speed limits without considering worker safety. In doing so, the agency failed to satisfy the APA’s requirement of reasoned decision-making.”