Proposed chicken plan changes have inspectors crying fowl

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Story Updated: Apr 20, 2012

UNION CITY, Ky. - Chicken: it's the top selling meat in the US with the average American eating 84 pounds a year.

The United States Department of Agriculture stations trained food inspectors along the assembly lines in poultry plants to visually and even physically check for diseases, feces and other signs of contamination.

But that may soon change.

Normally, there are four inspectors to check up to 140 birds per minute. But in a move the USDA says will save them $85 million over three years, they want to take three of those inspectors off the line, replacing them with plant employees. That would leave just one inspector to monitor up to 175 birds per minute.

A poultry inspector we spoke with, who wanted to be known only as "Gary", said the industry has made strides throughout the years to better production. But he said this proposed plan is unsafe.

"Thats a blur. That's outrageous, too fast," he said of the inspection load that would be placed on inspectors under the plan. "I can't stress enough, 175 birds a minute is crazy. That's crazy fast."

For more on what these changes mean for you, watch the video.

We reached out to the food company Tyson, which released a statement. You can find that statement in the related content link on this page.

If you'd like to tell the USDA what you think about this move, click here.