The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the nation's largest union of federal employees, says the public should be allowed to review and comment on the U.S Department of Agriculture’s plan to modernize the U.S. poultry inspection system before the rule takes effect. USDA submitted a revised version of the rule to the Office of Management and Budget on July 10, seeking final review and approval.
USDA officials have stated that "significant changes" have been made to the original proposed rule, which has been supported by poultry industry groups like the National Turkey Federation and the National Chicken Council, but criticized by AFGE and other labor and consumer groups. The changes have not been made public.
AFGE on July 17 sent a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Howard Shelanski, administrator of OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, urging a full public review of the rule before it is finalized. Specifically, AFGE is calling on the agencies to publish the revised version of the proposed rule, open it up for a 120-day public comment period, and hold public meetings on the revised proposed rule.
"Considering the importance of this rule, stakeholders and the public should be given the opportunity to comment on the 'significant changes' made to the proposed rule before it is finalized," AFGE Legislative and Political Director Beth Moten wrote.