USDA Lets More Packing Plants Return to Faster Line Speeds

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service last week announced it approved the Clemens Food Group pork packing plant in Coldwater, Michigan, to run faster line speeds under a one-year trial program. The agency now has let four plants operate with faster harvesting line speeds, which could increase packing capacity and alleviate supply issues in the face of strong pork demand. FSIS established the line speeds program last November, after a provision in USDA’s 2019 New Swine Inspection System was struck down by a U.S. District Court in March 2021. Nine pork packing plants that had adopted the program, six of which were operating with faster line speeds, were allowed to apply for the program, under which they need to collect data on the effects of the faster speeds on workers and share it with USDA. The National Pork Producers Council says the information could be used to formulate a new regulation for allowing plants to run faster line speeds.

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