A federal court invalidated a Trump-era rule that allowed hog slaughter plants to run without line speed limits. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union filed a lawsuit against the USDA challenging a 2019 rule change that allowed faster slaughter speeds. The union said in its lawsuit that the change made working conditions unsafe for line employees.
Reuters says the ruling from a Minnesota federal judge won’t be received well by the U.S. pork industry, which is trying to rebuild supplies of meat after COVID-19 closed slaughterhouses last year. Workers at Seaboard Foods, the second-largest pig producer in the country, told Reuters that faster line speeds increased worker injuries at the plant. The Biden Administration, which promised to make worker safety a priority, withdrew a Trump proposal to allow all poultry plants to work at faster-than-established line speed limits. The pork rule was going to be more difficult to reverse because it was already in effect. Food & Water Watch, a U.S.-based environmental group, calls the ruling “a resounding victory for the safety of plant workers.” Senior staff attorney Zach Corrigan adds that “This decision should send a signal to the Biden administration that it should reverse course and consider every aspect of those rules.”