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However the USDA continues to firmly believe this approach will save taxpayers money, but at what cost? It is hard to imagine that increasing the speed on processing lines to 175 birds a minute will ensure the chickens we are buying at the grocery store are not diseased or infected with campylobacter or salmonella. Research has shown that currently sixty-two percent of chickens test positive for campylobacter and fourteen percent test positive for salmonella. Further the U.S. is falling short of 2010 goals to reduce salmonella, listeria and campylobacter outbreaks.
Contaminated foods including contaminated chickens result in roughly 48 million illnesses per year. The new speed is so fast that every time an inspector blinks, several chickens may pass by unseen and uninspected. This new proposed rule is also worrying in view of the recent Government Accountability Office report saying the FDA's food advisory and recall process needed strengthening. Right now all the facts point to this new rule only increasing the overall number of foodborne illnesses. If the FDA is in need of strengthining, then the USDA's food advisory and recall process willl also need strengthing if this rule is implemented. This is obviously a rule that will only protect the poultry industry’s business interest not the public health and consumer safety of the American public.
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