WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2019 – Today, two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety Inspectors represented by Government Accountability Project, Jill Mauer and Anthony Vallone, spoke out about dangerous threats to consumers under the USDA’s New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS). NBC’s Morgan Radford told their story. While Mauer and Vallone were featured on this morning’s broadcast, they are not the only ones to come forward. Food Integrity Campaign and Government Accountability Project have been investigating inspector line speeds for more than five years and have a collection of affidavits from multiple inspectors.
Mauer and Vallone are giving public testimony for the first time at great personal and professional peril in an effort to protect our nation’s food supply. Their NBC report highlights how this system allows potentially contaminated meat to enter the food supply.
Mauer, an inspector with over twenty years’ experience, says:
“Over the years I have noticed that the USDA inspector role is not respected. It has not always been that way. It used to be black or white, if an inspector noticed non-compliance, food safety issue, or dressing defect, the plant took the necessary action to fix the problem.”
Vallone revealed that USDA may have even deleted his safety reports to make it appear that the HIMP pilot inspection program was working better than it was. According to Vallone:
“This need to process as many animals as possible has created a culture of silence in which inspectors are encouraged not to report things they see. We are told that if we didn’t see it, it didn’t happen, and if we did see it we are doing our job wrong. I have seen contaminants being spread by workers who don’t recognize when they are handling pathogenic materials, who then handle otherwise untainted meat and spread ingesta, feces, or other hazardous material.”
FIC Director Amanda Hitt adds:
“This new inspection program is about to go national without the benefit of reliable safety data. There is nothing scientific about this new inspection program. I hope these inspectors’ concerns are heard and heeded.”
The Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, the Government Accountability Project’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, the Government Accountability Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. www.whistleblower.org