Whistleblower Meat Inspector Gains Support for Online Petition
(Washington, DC) – Sherry Medina, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) poultry inspector, has collected more than 70,000 petition signatures via a Change.org petition asking Tyson Foods to stop its excessive use of hazardous chemicals in poultry processing.
After 16 years of working as a federal meat inspector, Medina is forced to seek early retirement due to serious health issues that she experienced while working at a Tyson Foods plant in Albertville, Alabama. Shortly after Medina arrived at the plant in 2010, the facility began speeding up processing lines and using massive doses of peracetic acid to chemically wash all chicken carcasses. Previously, only birds showing signs of contamination were isolated and subjected to chemical treatment. Two months after the switch to peracetic acid, according to Medina, nearly all of the inspectors started getting sick.
Medina recently submitted a statement detailing the poultry industry’s use of chemicals and her consequential health problems to the Government Accountability Project (GAP), which has been investigating the use of chemicals in poultry plants. She stated:
“An over-reliance on chemicals in poultry processing allows companies like Tyson to cut corners and put worker and public health at risk. Hopefully Tyson will consider my petition, and the more than 70,000 other concerned individuals that have signed it, if it wants to be an industry leader the public can trust. The company must stop its excessive use of these toxic chemicals.”
GAP Food Integrity Campaign Director Amanda Hitt commented:
“It’s not hard to imagine the sense of outrage these inspectors feel about having to go to work day after day exposed to harmful chemicals like peracetic acid. It’s whistleblowers like Sherry that give those employees and company workers a voice, and it’s petitions like hers that give concerned consumers a way to take action. Considering the extensive illness associated with these chemicals, it’s not hard to imagine why more than 70,000 people wouldn’t want peracetic acid in their food and are telling Tyson enough is enough.”
Medina’s campaign on Change.org has gathered more than 70,000 signatures in just a few days, with more expected. Signers of the petition include other USDA inspectors who have experienced similar conditions linked to harmful chemicals used in processing plants.
Contact: Sarah Damian, New Media Associate
Phone: 202.457.0034, ext. 130
Contact: Amanda Hitt, Food Integrity Campaign Director
Phone: 202.457.0034 ext. 159
Government Accountability Project
The Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.