Lawsuit Claims USDA Allows Meat Contaminated With Fecal Matter To Be Sold

Workers at a food factory

A nonprofit group that represents 12,000 doctors has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) claiming that the agency's regulations on fecal matter in meat products are not sufficient.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine says the current regulations only apply to "visible fecal contamination" which means that meat products which may be contaminated could pass testing and enter the food supply.

The group began pressuring the USDA in 2013 after they found fecal contamination on 48 percent of the chicken products they tested. The USDA ignored their petition to change its regulations, and they filed a freedom of information request in 2017 demanding "records regarding the number of USDA poultry inspectors, detection rates for visible fecal contamination in poultry, average poultry line speed, USDA poultry inspection rates, and inspection training."

The lawsuit demands that USDA issues a response to their 2013 petition and 2017 freedom of information request. The Physicians Committee hopes that their lawsuit will result in changes in how the USDA inspects poultry and meat for fecal contamination.

Photo: Getty Images


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