Cross-posted from Food Safety News
BY HELENA BOTTEMILLER | MAR 10, 2010
Congressman promises “relentless” oversight after FSIS veterinarian blows whistle on humane handling and food safety violations
Congressional oversight subcommittee chairman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is vowing to increase oversight over USDA meat safety after a Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) veterinarian blew the whistle on his supervisors for ignoring violations of food safety and humane slaughter laws.
Dean Wyatt, who has been an FSIS public health veterinarian for 18 years, outlined violations of the Humane Slaughter Act he witnessed on the job before the Subcommittee on Domestic Policy last week. According to Wyatt, his attempts to enforce the law were thwarted by “well-paid public health officials.”
Wyatt cited Seaboard Farms in Oklahoma a half dozen times for non-compliance. The facility was written up for shackling and bleeding out pigs while they were conscious, aggressively unloading animals, and allowing pigs to slip and trample one another. Both the company and FSIS supervisors pushed back against Wyatt’s reports.
“FSIS officials who were hundreds of miles away simply took company personnel at their word that the egregious events I had personally witnessed did not justify my actions,” Wyatt said in his testimony before lawmakers.
Wyatt’s allegations were supported by Government Accountability Office (GAO) findings released at the hearing. The GAO found FSIS enforcement of humane slaughter laws to be inconsistent.
“Inconsistent” may be putting it lightly. Read full story >>