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Diseased Chicken for Dinner? The USDA Is Considering It

A proposed new rule would allow poultry plants to process diseased chickens. That’s the last thing Americans need.

Here's one unexpected consequence of the Defense Production Act: Your food is less safe.

When President Trump invoked the act three months ago, as a means to bolster American food security, it marked the beginning of a campaign to deregulate the meat industry. 

Recall that the president first pressured meat-processing plants to remain open after many had become Covid-19 hotbeds. Since then, federal agencies have suspended meatpacking worker protections, lowered plant inspection standards, eased labeling rules for manufacturers and relaxed enforcement of pollution restrictions for chicken and pig farms.

The president has justified the rollbacks by claiming they’ll prevent dangerous meat shortages during the pandemic. But the argument is flawed. Meat exports have been surging in the U.S. over the past few months. Poultry demand has declined slightly in the U.S., yet sales to China have been higher than ever. The most likely outcome of this deregulation is to further imperil, rather than strengthen, the security of our food supply.