AGs Against Eliminating Swine Slaughter Line Speeds

Seven states’ attorneys general and two agriculture groups get to file briefs in a lawsuit challenging a USDA rule that eliminated line-speed limits at swine slaughter plants.

On October 1 of last year, the Food Safety Inspection Service finalized the rule that cut the number of federal inspectors by 40 percent at swine plants while also eliminating limits on line speeds. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union filed a lawsuit six days later, asking the U.S. District Court in Minnesota to set aside the rule. The union says USDA didn’t take into consideration how it would affect safety issues and risks for line workers.

The seven AGs will file a brief in support of a motion for summary judgement filed by the workers union. The National Pork Producers Council and the North American Meat Institute will also file a brief in support of the USDA motion for summary judgement.

The plaintiffs allege in the lawsuit that “USDA’s failure to consider overwhelming recorded evidence that indicates faster line speeds subject workers to substantially increased risk of injury was arbitrary and capricious.” The workers union also says USDA didn’t provide an adequate reason for the decision to reduce the number of federal inspectors by 40 percent at each site.