Reuters – U.S. pork processor Seaboard Foods wants to pursue a 10-1/2-month delay to a Federal Court decision that would force it to slow the speed of hog slaughtering at a massive Oklahoma pork plant, according to court documents.
The second-biggest U.S. pig producer seeks to intervene in the line-speed case after a federal judge ruled against a Trump administration policy allowing pork plants to run slaughter line speeds as fast as they want, as long as they prevent fecal contamination and minimize bacteria.
As the first U.S. pork company to invest in machinery to run line speeds faster under the rule, Seaboard stands to lose from the decision. The Biden administration has sought to emphasize worker safety and is not expected to challenge the court.
Seaboard sped up its Guymon, Oklahoma, facility last year. Workers told Reuters the faster line speeds increased injuries at the plant.
A lawsuit brought against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union had challenged the 2019 rule over concerns about worker safety.
A judge in U.S. District Court in Minnesota invalidated the rule on March 31 but stayed the decision for 90 days to give companies and the Biden administration time to adapt.
Seaboard said in court filings it will need 313 days more to clear out excess hogs from its production process if the company is required to revert to slower processing speeds.