Thursday, April 10


STERN PUBLIC FACE Standing firm at a Meat Safety conference and essentially declaring War on E. Coli yet again, the agency said federal inspectors have started regularly taking meat samples from all meatpacking plants, not just those that lacked testing programs.

TYRANNICAL PRIVATE FACE Meanwhile, when those inspectors do anything about non-compliant plants they're likely to be retaliated against and suspended by the USDA, as were two federal meat inspectors in the New York area - they were suspended for reporting possible misconduct by other inspectors, according to a ruling by an administrative judge made public yesterday.

As the New York Times notes, "Inspectors in California and Arkansas have made similar claims of harsh treatment." And "an inspector in Pennsylvania said in December that safety officials had brushed aside his concerns about a plant linked to an outbreak of food-poisoning by the listeria bacteria that killed eight people.
(FRIDAY AFTERNOON ALERT: Explain this one to me, will you? "Judge Ruggiero issued the decision on Tuesday, but it was not made public until [Friday]." Uh..........huh.)

BACKSLAPPING CRONY FACE Topping off all of last year's drought-connected bailouts for livestock producers, the agency announced "Additional Livestock Assistance" to many states, in the form of "surplus USDA stocks of non-fat dry milk." Oh, good. So the USDA finally found a way to get rid of all that "nonfat milk powder that it bought over the past three years to prop up the prices paid to dairy farmers." Am I really the only one who connects these dots?
P.M. UPDATE 4/10: No, I'm not the only one, apparently. So howcum this bit of info wasn't in any of the other sources I had found?

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