US poultry groups object to expansion of inspections

Three leading poultry organisations in the US have objected to “attempts” by the country’s safety and health body to expand its inspection process for poultry facilities.

The US Poultry & Egg Association, National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation have written to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) voicing their “concern” about recent attempts to expand its authority to conduct wall-to-wall inspections of poultry processing facilities whenever they receive notice of any accident or employee complaint.

The three organisations say there are legal limits on when and how OSHA may inspect, and that they believe those inspections should be conducted within the scope of the law.

“Like any employer, poultry processors are subject to inspections by OSHA, and the industry is committed to the safety, health and wellbeing of our workforce,” they said. “That commitment is demonstrated by the tremendous progress the poultry industry has made in reducing worker injury and illness rates, which have declined by 81% in the last 20 years and continues to decline.”

Maintaining that poultry companies currently cooperate extensively with OSHA, the three organisations added that they believed the latest move “overstepped the legal boundaries of the Fourth Amendment’s bar on unreasonable searches and seizures”.

They have therefore written to OSHA, requesting that it abides by “well-established rules” governing the process to select facilities for inspections and objecting to the administration’s recent announcement that it would use any accident, complaint or referral at every poultry processing facility as a pretext for conducting a wall-to-wall inspection.

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