USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has extended until Nov. 30 the trial period for a study on the impact line speeds have on workers at swine processing facilities.

After a March 2021 court order vacated part of a USDA rule for faster line speeds limits in the proposed New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS), FSIS and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration developed a “time-limited trial” allowing NSIS establishments "to experiment with ergonomics, automation and crewing to create custom work environments that will protect food and worker safety while maintaining productivity,” FSIS said in a constituent update.

Under the trial, six plants were supposed to operate their lines for a year using the higher speeds allowed by the original rule. FSIS decided to extend it to "allow the contractors to finalize their report on the swine data, enable the agency to assess the report’s findings and conclusions, and to determine future actions," the agency said.

The National Pork Producers Council applauded USDA’s decision to evaluate the impact of line speeds that NPPC said have proven “to protect food and worker safety for over two decades.”

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