The term that comes to mind is “regulatory overreach” – a phrase that crops up from time to time, typically when regulators decide to make and enforce their own regulations. It is usually limited to a small area, or a single inspector. Unfortunately, I have been hearing it more and more, and it appears that it has become a systemic issue in the meat and poultry industry.
In Montana, the issue came about during a program review (audit) by the FSIS of the state inspection program, which is implemented by the Meat & Poultry Inspection Bureau. During the audit, the Bureau decided that it had the ability to issue withholding actions without providing due process — do involuntary recalls, literally pick up a processor’s product and throw it in the trash — and without any documentation on the part of the regulator. That’s right, no NR’s, no letters, not even emails in most cases.