U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson has concluded that Food and Water Watch did not have the legal standing to challenge the New Poultry Inspection Rules (NPIS) issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

In September 2014, Food and Water Watch filed suit, along with several other groups, to stop the implementation of NPIS,  claiming the new rules violated the Poultry Products  Inspection Act and that the new rules would put people at greater risk of disease.  The Government Accountability Project; the Consumer Federation of America; the Center for Foodborne Illness; the Southern Poverty Law Center; and Nebraska Appleseed in October last year filed a joint amicus curiae brief in support of Food and Water Watch.

NPIS requires additional microbiological testing at all poultry processing facilities and is based on the HACCP (hazard analysis critical control point)-Based Inspection Models Project (HIMP).  The new rules direct poultry processing companies to sort their own product for quality defects before presenting it to an FSIS inspector.

In a February 9  55-page opinion, Judge Jackson  said “whatever the merits of the allegation that the new poultry-processing regulation is a policy that the USDA should never have adopted, this Court finds that such ‘injury’ precisely the type of generalized grievance that Article III courts are not empowered to consider.”

“Plaintiffs’ ‘fox guarding the henhouse’ assertions of increased-risk appear to be both unsupported and overblown,” Jackson wrote, adding that his reading of the evidence suggests that the new rules “will reduce, not increase, the likelihood that adulterated poultry will enter the market.”

The National Chicken Council’s resource website about poultry inspection can be found at www.ChickenInspectionFacts.com.