When you ask Americans what they look for in a tasty piece of USDA-certified chicken, they say, "Less government inspection of this chicken before I eat it." Today, the government has heard your voice, America.

The USDA announced an overhaul of poultry inspection rules yesterday. The good news is that they are "encouraging" inspectors and poultry plants to increase their testing for salmonella and other vomit-centric diseases, and they decided to keep the maximum inspection line speed at a modest 140 chickens per minute (anyone can inspect 140 chickens per minute, come on) rather than the 175 chickens per minute that was proposed earlier.

The bad news is they are actually decreasing the number of government poultry inspectors, and that the poultry industry likes these new rules because it leaves much of the inspection duties to them, which is always a bad sign. Also, the existence of the poultry industry is bad news, because imagine if you are reincarnated as a chicken. Here is what the group Food and Water Watch had to say about the new rules, in part:

One of the changes that has been made to the original proposed rule is to cap the line speed in chicken slaughter facilities at 140 birds per minute, instead of 175 birds per minute. This is not a meaningful victory because there are not accompanying worker safety regulations to deal with the musculoskeletal disorders and other work-related injuries that both the plant workers and USDA inspectors suffer every day working in the poultry slaughter plants. In addition, the one USDA inspector left on the slaughter line under this new rule will still have to inspect 2.33 birds every second – an impossible task that leaves consumers at risk.

I for one trust the Chicken Killing industry to serve as its own policeman. I further trust the brave chicken inspectors of the USDA to thoroughly inspect more than two chickens per second throughout the day, because—[pulls off mask]—they are Superman.


[Photo: Flickr]