Unions sue USDA seeking to halt new pork processing rules

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DES MOINES, Iowa – The union representing workers at pork processing plants has sued the federal government to challenge new rules finalized in September that allow companies to set line speeds and turn more food safety tasks over to company employees.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and local unions in Minnesota, Iowa and Kansas have joined with nonprofit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen to file the lawsuit in federal court in Minnesota.

The lawsuit alleges that the new rules announced in September by the U.S. Department of Agriculture violated the Administrative Procedure Act because it is not backed by reasoned decision-making and should be set aside.

A USDA spokeswoman says the agency does not comment on pending litigation.

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