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USDA Inspector's Identity Shielded to Publicly Sound Alarm on HIMP Poultry Plan

DianeSawyer_ssLast night, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer interviewed a USDA inspector – whose voice was distorted and image revealed only in shadow – to discuss the agency's plan to deregulate poultry inspection by expanding a pilot program known as HIMP.

The inspector, a whistleblower who brought concerns regarding HIMP to FIC, told ABC why the proposal – which speeds up the rate birds move through processing plants and shifts oversight duties to industry – is a terrible idea.

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HIMP Update: Poultry Disease Pics Show More Than “Bumps and Blemishes”

Apparently saving $90 million over three years is more important to USDA officials than keeping diseased poultry out of the food supply. Despite complaints from whistleblowers and consumer advocates regarding USDA's plan to expand HIMP – a deregulated poultry inspection program that speeds product through plants (according to one of our whistleblowers, at up to 10,000 birds per hour!) – the agency insists the oversight roles it will be taking away from federal inspectors (and handing over to industry) aren't related to food safety.

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Good Thing the HSUS Egg Farm Exposè Isn't from Iowa or Utah…

eggsThis morning GAP coalition partner, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), released undercover video of deplorable conditions found at a major egg factory farm in Pennsylvania.

NYT writer Nicholas Kristof asks, "Is an egg for breakfast worth this?" He reports the investigator's findings:

Mice sometimes ran down egg conveyer belts, barns were thick with flies and manure in three barns tested positive for salmonella, he said.

...

In some cases, 11 hens were jammed into a cage about 2 feet by 2 feet. The Humane Society says that that is even more cramped than the egg industry’s own voluntary standards — which have been widely criticized as inadequate.

An automatic feeding cart that runs between the cages sometimes decapitates hens as they’re eating, the investigator said. Corpses are pulled out if they’re easy to see, but sometimes remain for weeks in the cages, piling up until they have rotted into the wiring, he added.

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Study: High Fructose Corn Syrup’s Role in Autism

candy_vendor_attPhoto via flickr user anyjazz65A new study details the role of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in the growing autism epidemic. Published this week in the journal Clinical Epigenetics, the study was spearheaded by GAP client and FDA whistleblower Renee Dufault, who has been raising HFCS concerns for years.

According to the article, "the number of children ages 6 to 21 in the U.S. receiving special education services under the autism disability category increased 91% between 2005 and 2010." A comparison between Americans (who eat on average 35.7 pounds of HFCS per year) and Italians (who rarely consume it) suggests the increase in autism in the U.S. "is not related to mercury exposure from fish, coal-fired power plants, thimerosal, or dental amalgam but instead to the consumption of HFCS."

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Petition: USDA – Keep Chicken Safe by Rejecting Privatized Poultry Inspection!

poultry_whistleblowerThere's only about two weeks left to tell the USDA why privatizing poultry inspection is a big mistake! GAP's Food Integrity Campaign has launched a petition telling Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to reject the program – known as HIMP – that hands government oversight duties to the poultry industry.

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Monsanto Bullies Vermont Over Genetically Engineered Labeling

gmo_label_poster_attPhoto via MillionsAgainstMonsantoOnce again, Big Ag has flexed its intimidating corporate muscle to stop food integrity efforts in their tracks. Biotech giant Monsanto has threatened to sue the State of Vermont if it passes legislation requiring labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. Now, despite overwhelming public support and backing from a majority of Vermont's House Agriculture Committee, legislators have put a hold on future voting on the bill.

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Baby Steps: USDA Lets Industry Voluntarily Label 'Pink Slime'

usdaLast year, former Beef Products, Inc. employee Kit Foshee revealed to an audience in Washington D.C. that, without their knowledge, most of the hamburgers they eat contain BPI's ammoniated beef product – now commonly referred to as “pink slime.”

"I think you should know that. You should be able to make a choice, that the beef that you're eating is treated with Mr. Clean, to clean it up," he said (speaking at FIC's food whistleblower conference at American University).

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