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What Could Go Wrong?

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The least surprising thing ever is when you allow industries to regulate themselves and that leads to people dying. That this has just been in the news with the airline industry and the Boeing planes crashing means this is really perfect timing from the Trump administration.

The Trump administration plans to shift much of the power and responsibility for food safety inspections in hog plants to the pork industry as early as May, cutting the number of federal inspectors by about 40 percent and replacing them with plant employees.

Under the proposed new inspection system, the responsibility for identifying diseased and contaminated pork would be shared with plant employees, whose training would be at the discretion of plant owners. There would be no limits on slaughter-line speeds.

The new pork inspection system would accelerate the federal government’s move toward delegating inspections to the livestock industry. During the Obama administration, poultry plant owners were given more power over safety inspections, although that administration canceled plans to increase line speeds. The Trump administration in September allowed some poultry plants to increase line speeds.

The Trump administration also is working to shift inspection of beef to plant owners. Agriculture Department officials are scheduled next month to discuss the proposed changes with the meat industry.

These proposals, part of the Trump administration’s broader effort to reduce regulations, come as the federal government is under fire for delegating some of its aircraft safety oversight responsibilities to Boeing, which developed the 737 Max jets involved in two fatal crashes over the past six months. Federal Aviation Administration certification of the two aircraft involved in the crashes took place under President Trump, but the major shift toward delegating key aspects of aviation oversight began during the George W. Bush administration.

As the last sentence suggests, this has nothing to do with the special monstrosity that is Donald Trump. This is bog standard Republican Party governance, one of many reasons it needs to be ground into the dust.

In any case, giving up pork might be a good idea, though really, Republicans are going to seek to kill you in any number of ways, so might as well enjoy yourself in your increasingly shortened and sicker life.

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