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Sunday, August 05, 2012 

One-third of a second

That's how long a federal inspector will have to examine slaughtered chickens for contaminants and disease under new rules proposed by the federal government.

The proposal would speed up production lines as much as 25 percent. It also would pull most federal inspectors off the lines and replace them with plant workers. 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says its proposal is a win-win-win that modernizes food inspection while saving money for taxpayers and the poultry industry. 
The nation's most recognized food safety and consumer groups, however, say the plan would leave gaping holes in oversight that will endanger the nation's food supply, not to mention create a conflict of interest for poultry plants. They warn that Americans, who eat about 80 pounds of poultry a year, will be at greater risk of getting a side serving of fecal contamination or cancerous tumors with their chicken. 
"I went out and bought a food processor so we could make more vegetarian meals," said Felicia Nestor, a food safety advocate and a consultant with the Government Accountability Project. "If the changes go into effect, my husband and I will no longer buy chicken." - AJC

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