I spoke with Trent Berhow, the Vice-Chairman of the National Joint Council of Food Safety Inspection Locals (the union of food safety inspectors) a few moments ago about the Rubashkin Shechita-gate Scandal.
In brief, Mr. Berhow noted that:
- A vet (or inspector) is normally on the kill floor for about 5 minutes per day.
- What he saw on the PETA video appeared to be violations of the Humane Slaughter Act.
- He would have tagged and stopped the line until the slaughter could be done correctly (i.e., no throat-ripping with a hook).
- The problems at AgriProcessors could be due to poorly trained employees or management issues (or both).
- Mr. Berhow worked in another Iowa plant doing kosher slaughter. He said the process there worked quite well.
- I asked Mr. Berhow if he had seen anything like the PETA video at that plant or anywhere else.
- Mr. Berhow replied, "No, I haven't. … I [never saw] anything remotely like what I saw on that video."
A bit of good news for the consumer:
I asked Mr. Berhow about this story publicized by his union about body parts banned (due to Mad Cow Disease fears) illegally entering the food chain, often for export. AgriProcessors is not on the list of plants known to have violated the Mad Cow rules.