WASHINGTON — The US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recently added two pork processing facilities that can operate at faster line speeds as part of a one-year trial program.

Swift Pork Company, a unit of JBS SA, in Beardstown, Ill., and Tyson Fresh Meats in Madison, Neb., received permission from the agency to attempt different ergonomics, automation and crewing that improves both production and worker safety.    

Under the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS), FSIS established a maximum line speed of 1,106 head per hour to go into force on June 30, 2021. This came after a federal court ruling that vacated a provision of the NSIS that enabled pork processors to establish maximum line speeds.

Since the ruling, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and others have asked the USDA to reconsider the decision made by the federal judge even though a one-year program has been established. 

There are now six facilities running under this trial program. Clemens Food Group pork plant in Coldwater, Mich., became the fourth plant to receive approval in April 2022.