Saturday, April 19, 2008

Be Careful
You can not trust the government when republicans are in charge. They want government to work for corporations, help them maximize profits. If Americans get angry, so much the better. It reinforces the government is inefficient Talking Point. I mean who cares if you poison the food supply. The FDA was and probably still is intimidating workers.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the union that represents 6,000 federal food inspectors told a congressional committee Thursday that the Agriculture Department tried to intimidate him and other employees who reported violations of regulations, an allegation denied by the agency.

Union chief Stan Painter said that following a mad cow disease scare in 2003, he told superiors that new food safety regulations for slaughtered cattle were not being uniformly enforced. Painter said he was told to drop the matter, and when he didn't, was grilled by department officials and then placed on disciplinary investigative status.

Painter said he was eventually exonerated, but the incident "has caused a chilling effect on others within my bargaining unit to come forward and stand up when agency management is wrong." He said that supervisors tell workers to "let the system work" rather than cite slaughterhouses for violations.

Painter made the allegations at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform domestic policy subcommittee, which was looking into slaughterhouse practices following humane violations at Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. in Chino, Calif., which led to the largest beef recall in U.S. history.

Those violations, caught on undercover video by an investigator of the Humane Society of the United States, showed workers dragging cows with chains, shocking them with electric prods and shooting streams of water in their faces. The cows were "downers" — those too sick or injured to stand — and the USDA shut down the plant, saying the company hadn't prevented downer cattle, which pose a greater risk of illnesses such as mad cow disease, from entering the food supply.

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