(KXAN / CNN) – A consumer rights advocacy group wants the government to ask the meat distributors to send a message to the groceries they send to the grocers – "may contain feces."
According to CNN, the lawyer for the Medical Committee on Responsible Medicine says the referral is "tongue in cheek". The organization consists of 1
Joke or not, the PCRM has serious concerns about the Food Safety Inspection System of the US Department of Agriculture.
The US Department of Agriculture says there is a "zero tolerance policy for faeces on meat and poultry."
The USDA said it sent inspectors to facilities that look at a large amount of meat throughout the day. If inspectors find feces on an animal carcass, they ensure that contaminated meat can not enter the food supply, USDA said.
The PCRM advocate, however, says USDA's current control policy is insufficient, as it applies only to bowel movement, which is "visible" in the production line.
In addition, the USDA has eased its rules on the speed with which poultry companies can handle birds. The requirement was 140 birds per minute but was increased to 175 birds per minute.
This gives line workers about three birds per second to scan – a rate that is considered too fast to detect bowel movement.
For at least six years, the PCRM has been asking questions about fecal matter contained in birds and they have recently filed a lawsuit in the Federal Supreme Court in Washington, DC.
"Nobody wants to eat fecal matter," says Deborah Press, the PCRM lawyer.
Concern goes beyond justice: microbes like E. Coli are in the chair.
Despite these concerns, they claim they would not receive any response from the government to their food inspection procedures.
In 2013, the PCRM sent a petition to the USDA urging the US to change its rules on stool contamination.
In a chicken product test, the PCRM detected 48 percent of the meat tested for fecal contamination.
The PCRM filed a motion for Freedom of Information Act in 2017 requesting "records on the number of USDA to poultry inspectors, detection rates for visible faeces contamination in poultry, average speed of poultry line, USDA poultry inspection rates and inspection training."
In the current lawsuit, the USDA violated the law by failing to respond to the request. Under US federal law, the federal law requires agencies to respond within 20 days of receiving the application for FOIA.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture told CNN that the USDA could not comment on pending litigation. 19659004] According to PCRM, the demand for "visible" faecal contamination is obscured, which happens in poultry farming with chickens.
The group cites an unnamed federal inspector who spoke to them:
"We often see birds. If the fecal contaminants are not present on the bird's skin, we can not do anything about that bird going down that line."  The bird would then enter a pool of water where residual faeces can be rinsed off and allowed to attach to other bird cadavers in the vessel. The inspector said this is sometimes referred to as "fecal soup".
According to the press, although the complaint will be difficult to prosecute, she believes that change can take place.