The proposed new inspection system transfers some responsibilities that traditionally have been handled by USDA inspectors to employees of pork plants. The USDA says it has studied the new inspection system for 20 years and that pork products from the test plants are at least as safe as those produced by traditional inspection. They say federal inspectors will spend less time visually assessing pork and more time ensuring sanitary conditions are maintained throughout the plant.
Several food safety lawyers, Democratic members of Congress and a former agriculture official say that the USDA is using sleight-of-hand tactics to get around legal mandates that have been in place for more than a century. Those mandates require federal regulators to inspect — and either pass or condemn — every live hog that arrives at a slaughterhouse and every hog carcass on the slaughter line.
We know corporations can be trusted to keep the food supply safe, right? Why do we even need inspections at all?
* Susannah George and Lolita C. Baldor report that the White House seems to be trying to ratchet up tensions with Iran:
The U.S. will send hundreds of additional troops and a dozen fighter jets to the Middle East in the coming weeks to counter what the Pentagon said is an escalating campaign by Iran to plan attacks against the U.S. and its interests in the region. And for the first time, Pentagon officials on Friday publicly blamed Iran and its proxies for recent tanker bombings near United Arab Emirates and a rocket attack in Iraq.
President Donald Trump told reporters Friday that the 1,500 troops would have a “mostly protective” role as part of a build-up that began this month in response to what the U.S said was a threat from Iran.
Vice Admiral Michael Gilday told Pentagon reporters that the U.S. has “very high confidence” that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard was responsible for the explosions on four tankers, and that Iranian proxies in Iraq fired rockets into Baghdad. He said Iran also tried to deploy modified small boats that were capable of launching cruise missiles.
What could possibly go wrong?
* Joshua Partlow and David A. Fahrenthold report on why the Trump Organization is suddenly firing many of the undocumented workers it employs.
* Jeff Hauser and Eleanor Eagan ask why House Democrats aren’t going after Betsy DeVos when she so perfectly embodies the Trump administration’s corruption.
* Matt Viser and Ashley Parker report on how Republicans are preparing to go after Joe Biden and his family.
* Arthur Delaney examines how Trump is attacking the independence of the IRS.
* Katha Pollitt explains how legal abortion transformed the lives of women.
* Jason Kimelman-Block warns against falling for the right’s fake outrage about anti-Semitism.
* Julia Azari explains why Pete Buttigieg is a lot like ... Jimmy Carter.