The Biden administration has withdrawn a proposed USDA rule that would allow poultry processing lines to run significantly faster.
The rule, which was pending at the end of last year, would have allowed some plants to process chickens at up to 175 lines per minute, up from a limit of 140. The Trump administration had proposed the rule and, on a conditional basis, had let 124 chicken plants convert to the higher line speed.
The 175-per-minute limit was one of seven pending USDA regulations reversed by the new administration. No explanation was given, but the decision was welcomed by advocacy groups.
“We’re pleased that the Biden administration has resisted the bidding of the immensely powerful corporate poultry lobby,” said a spokesperson for the consumer group Food and Water Watch.
“Even though it has been less than a week since his inauguration, President Biden is already showing the type of commitment to the health and safety of frontline food workers that the American people expect and deserve, including actions to strengthen OSHA workplace safety enforcement and stop the dangerous push to increase poultry plant line speeds,” said Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.