Myth: Inspectors Only Visit Meat Plants Occasionally
Few industries in America are regulated and inspected as comprehensively as meat and poultry plants. U.S. meat packing plants where livestock are handled and processed are inspected continuously. Large plants may have two dozen inspectors on site in a two-shift day. Plants that process meat or poultry, but do not handle live animals are inspected daily.
These inspectors have a wide range of authority. They may cite plants for non-compliance forcing changes in procedures; prevent the use of certain equipment; condemn meat products that they deem to be unsafe or mislabeled; seize and detain meat products; and withdraw inspectors from plants, which forces the plant to cease operating. A review of USDA records will show that they use their powers frequently.
USDA currently employs 8,000 inspectors to oversee 6,200 plants. According to USDA, today they have one of the lowest inspector vacancy rates in recent history and meat and poultry plants are being directly inspected more closely than ever.