WASHINGTON – Food & Water Watch (FWW) recently filed a motion along with other consumer groups to ask a federal court to rule on a case that involves the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS).

The brief was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California by the Center for Food Safety, Food & Water Watch and the Humane Farming Association. It argues that the 2019 NSIS rules violate the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), one of our country’s cornerstone food safety laws

After a federal court vacated many of NSIS provisions in spring 2021, The USDA allowed nine pork plants in November 2021 to operate at faster line speed on a one-year trial basis. 

“The Trump administration implemented this outrageous self-policing initiative that hands over inspection duties to meat companies themselves — even though 48 million Americans get sick every year due to foodborne illness,” said Zach Corrigan, senior attorney for Food & Water Watch and lead counsel in the case. “Enough is enough. We are asking a federal court to throw out the unlawful rules the Biden administration continues to defend.”

Even with the exception of those plants made by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), all other pork facilities in the United States must run under a maximum line speed of 1,106 head per hour.

FWW also argued in its brief the NSIS program relies in large part on meat company employees conducting inspections instead of government inspectors. 

In recent statements, meat industry groups have shown strong support for the NSIS rules.

“This program will increase efficiency and effectiveness of the federal inspection process, allow for the rapid adoption of new food safety technologies in pork slaughter, and has the potential to increase US harvest capacity,” said the National Pork Producers Council on its website.