A federal judge in Minnesota has thrown out the rule allowing pork processing plants to speed up production lines, stating that the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service did not properly consider the risks to workers.
The rule had been implemented during the Trump Administration in 2019. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union led the lawsuit against the rule change.
According to ABC News, U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen said the agency “expressly identified worker safety as an important consideration and requested public comment on whether increasing line speeds would harm workers. Then, after receiving many comments raising worker safety concerns, FSIS rejected the comments and eliminated line speed limits without considering worker safety.”
UFCW International President Marc Perrone issued the following statement: “America’s essential workers in pork plants across the country have put their health and safety at risk every day during this pandemic to help families put food on the table. Today’s ruling is a victory for all of these brave men and women, finally ending the dangerous Trump USDA policy that allowed pork plants to push workers to the breaking point with unsafe line speeds that increase the risk of injury and put the safety of our food supply in jeopardy. With the success of this lawsuit, our country’s essential workers have sent a powerful message that the safety of America’s food and workers is not for sale and that these companies will finally be forced to stop these dangerous practices.”
Judge Ericksen said that the ruling will go into effect in 90 days to allow regulators time to determine how the change will affect plants that already switched to faster line speeds.
Source: ABC News, UFCW