Monday, April 07, 2003

world's safest food supply [NYT]
bet you didn't hear about this:
The Agriculture Department retaliated against two federal meat inspectors in the New York area for reporting possible misconduct by other inspectors, according to a ruling by an administrative judge made public yesterday.

The case is one of several in which inspectors said they faced retaliation after they vigorously enforced regulations in meat plants or pointed out weaknesses in a new inspection system. Inspectors in California and Arkansas have made similar claims of harsh treatment. An inspector in Pennsylvania said in December that safety officials had brushed aside his concerns about a plant linked to an outbreak of food-poisoning by the listeria bacteria that killed eight people.

In the New York decision, JoAnn M. Ruggiero, an administrative judge for the Merit Systems Protection Board, which was created to protect federal employees from unfair treatment, ruled that the two inspectors, Patrick H. McHale and James L. Peterson, were wrongly suspended from their jobs after providing tips that helped investigators uncover abuses among inspectors in New York and New Jersey.

Also, last week, as expected, the Senate repealed the Hastert/Deal organic chicken sellout.

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