The USDA is proposing a fundamental change in the way that poultry makes it to the American dinner table.  As early as next week, the government will end debate on a cost-cutting modernization proposal it hopes to fully implement by the end of the year.  The USDA will be turning over most of the chicken inspecting duties to the companies that produce the birds for sale.

    The USDA hopes to save $85 million over three years by laying off 1,000 government inspectors and turning over their duties to company monitors.  The poultry companies expect to save more than $250 milion a year because they will be allowed to speed up the processing lines to 175 birds per minute with one USDA inspector at the endof the line.  Currently poultry lines move at a maximun of 90 birds a minute with up to three USDA inaspectors on line.

    Food science watchdogs oppose the new rule and say the companies cannot be trusted to watch over themselves... which sounds like the criticism of the Walking Horse industries use of Designated Qualified Persons to help enforce the Horse Protection Act.