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May 4, 2020

Three chickens a second: USDA gives poultry slaughterhouse green light to speed up processing

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) gave a Washington State poultry plant permission to significantly increase its processing speeds-a move some fear may jeopardize worker and food safety. Foster Farms, the biggest chicken processor on the West Coast, was granted a line speed waiver by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on Tuesday for its 100,000-square feet operation in Kelso, Washington. This will allow the facility to slaughter chickens at a rate of 175 birds per minute-equivalent to 3 birds a second-up from the industry standard of 140 birds per minute. With this approval, the first of 2020, the Foster Farms plant joins 38 other facilities authorized to operate at the higher speed.  Read more