WASHINGTON — The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) reacted to a recent report by CBS news program “60 minutes” that raised concerns about the overuse of antibiotics on pork farms.
Lesley Stahl, a correspondent for CBS, claimed that it was difficult for her and some public health officials to gain access to pork producers and gather information regarding biosecurity, antibiotic use and possible links to food outbreaks like Salmonella.
NPPC stated that the segment “failed to include critical information about modern pork production.”
The trade association explained in its blog post why access to hog farms is restricted.
“While on-farm access is limited, the US pork industry is highly regulated and USDA conducts surveys on farms periodically and makes these findings available. NPPC has actively advocated for USDA funding required to gather more farm data that supports the industry’s commitment to continuous improvement,” NPPC said in the post.
During the report, Stahl interviewed Dr. Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian of the NPPC. The group said that Stahl interviewed Wagstrom for 80 minutes, but only aired a few minutes on the program.
The segment also commented on the new swine slaughter inspection system (NSIS), which was the subject of a NBC report in mid-December 2019. Changes in line speed and a reduction of USDA inspectors have led some advocates to question the rules.
NPPC stated the following regarding the NSIS:
“The USDA recently finalized the new swine inspection system (NSIS), a voluntary program supported by many years of research. It is designed to increase efficiency and effectiveness of the federal inspection process and to provide more flexibility for adopting new food safety technologies. It had been 50 years since pork inspection had been modernized and these changes were long overdue.
“It’s important to know that the USDA maintains absolute authority and accountability for inspection. Like any industry, the pork industry is focused on continually improving and incorporating technologies that improve the way we raise animals and produce safe pork products.”