DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The federal government has finalized rules for most U.S. pork processing plants that remove limits on the speed of production lines and place more animal inspection and food safety tasks with company employees.

The pork industry says the first significant pork processing rule changes in 50 years were long overdue. Officials applauded the new regulatory freedom finalized Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Advocacy groups for workers, animals, consumers and the environment say the changes will endanger workers, increase suffering for pigs and threaten the food supply.

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue says the change ensures food safety while eliminating outdated rules and allowing companies to innovate.

Among the critics is Washington-based Food & Water Watch, which says the Trump administration is prioritizing the meat industry’s interests over food safety.

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