Food-Safety Agency Under the Pressure of Officials
A Food Safety and Inspection Service veterinarian claimed that the managers of the food safety agency have failed constantly to pay attention to his warnings about insecure slaughterhouse practices. Ill-treatment of the pigs at an Oklahoma slaughterhouse have been witnessed and reported by Dean Wyatt, who is a Food Safety and Inspection Service supervisor based in Vermont. He also revealed that after citing a plant for butchering conscious pigs, he and his companions were threatened with transfer.
Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary, has ordered a criminal investigation, canceling the operations at the plant.
"I am the exception. Food-integrity and humane-handling whistleblowers should not have to rely on an undercover video investigation in order for USDA supervisors to take their disclosures seriously", said Wyatt to the members of a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee.
To develop the agency's enforcement standards, Obama administration officials are also taking steps. Food-borne illnesses cost $152B a year in USA.
"We are always looking for ways to better perform our regulatory and enforcement responsibilities. USDA has a series of stringent regulations and procedures in place to ensure that the humane handling laws are fully enforced, and we believe that whistleblowers play an important role by stepping up and alerting us when the system does not work", said Agriculture Department spokesman Caleb Weaver.