An effort backed by the Trump administration to speed up slaughter lines of pigs is facing legal challenges from food workers' unions that argue the new rules will put laborers in danger.

Food policy expert Corby Kummer joined Boston Public Radio Thursday to discuss the new rule, and the workers' safety complaint.

"This makes my blood boil. Already the line speeds, the industrial processing allowed in big meat slaughterhouses is hugely dangerous to workers," said Kummer. "They get mad cow brain disease if they're working on the line slicing open brains of pigs and beef, and they do, and they have progressive neurological diseases, and meat companies just through them out the door and say, 'We don't owe you any disability.'"

The suit challenges the Department of Agriculture's move to eliminate maximum speed guidelines that the agency estimated would provide annual savings in the millions of dollars for large plants. Kummer said this rule expressly throws worker safety out the window in favor of industry benefits.

"These new laws, friendly to industry increasing line speed, the USDA said, 'We don't care about overload, burnout, physical toll and repetitive stress injury, we're not even going to weigh that in our final rules, we're going to leave that for OSHA,'" he said. "What they're doing is destroying the health of the workers and even saying flat out, 'We don't care, we're going to leave it to OSHA to come in and try and mop up the mess.'"

Corby Kummer is executive director of the Food and Society policy program at the Aspen Institute, a senior editor at The Atlantic, and a senior lecturer at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrtition Science and Policy.