What's New ? - 2021

What's New ? - 2021

President Biden rejects proposal to increase chicken processing speeds

27 January, 2021

In 2018, then-president Donald Trump issued temporary waivers to 54 poultry plants, which allowed them to make significant increases to their slaughter line speeds. Employees in those plants are expected to process 175 birds per minute, while those at facilities that were not granted waivers process 140 birds per minute. 
In the final weeks of his presidency, the Trump administration considered a proposal from the Department of Agriculture, which recommended permanently allowing a 25 percent line speed increase in all U.S. poultry plants. (A similar suggestion was made during Barack Obama's time in office, but it was not implemented due to concerns about worker safety.) 
A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America found that COVID-19 transmission rates were particularly high at poultry plants that had waivers granting them to slaughter 175 birds per minute on processing lines.
Now-President Biden withdrew the previous administration's proposed increase to poultry processing speeds, a move that was praised by both the United Food and Commercial Workers union and the Humane Society. 
Though, this doesn't revoke the waivers that were previously issued to those 54 plants; it just stops the speed increases from being implemented at the other, non-waivered facilities. 
In a statement, the National Chicken Council wrote that this was just basic procedure for a new president, and that it didn't necessarily mean that all poultry plants wouldn't be allowed to increase their line speeds in the future. "[New administrations] issue a temporary regulatory freeze to assess all rulemakings currently underway, review them in light of administration priorities, and then decide whether to move forward," the statement read. "We are hopeful that it will move forward."