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AFGE wins lawsuit against USDA

7/06/2000-The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) won its case against the U.S. Department of Agriculture's HACCP Models Project. The U.S. Court of Appeals handed down the decision on Friday, June 30. The meat inspectors' union successfully argued that the Project did not meet the definition of "inspection" under current meat inspection law. Although inspection entails observation, argued the Judges, observation does not amount to inspection. In the Models Project "they are inspecting people not carcasses," concluded the Judges in their determination against the government. Unless USDA obtains a stay of the decision while it seeks reconsideration by the D.C. circuit or Supreme Court review, the new decision will apparently bring the Models Project to a halt. "We are disappointed by this ruling," Beth Gaston, a spokeswoman for USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), told the Washington Post. She declined further comment on the ruling until FSIS reviews the court decision, but did stress that it does not affect HACCP as such, just the pilot project.


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