Get ready for a meat shortage
The Agriculture Department warns that the looming budget sequester could idle federal inspectors of meat and poultry plants for two weeks.
It's something shoppers don't give a lot of attention to when buying hamburger or chicken breasts: the little circle that verifies the meat has been inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But without that stamp, meat can't be sold by packers and processors.
That's bad news because the looming U.S. government sequester means meat and poultry plants won't be able to receive their inspections, potentially leading to a shortage of everything from prime rib to chicken wings.
The sequester -- slated for March 1, unless Congress finds a way to sidestep the start of $85 billion in mandated federal budget cuts -- would keep meat inspection personnel from going to work for as many as 15 days, according to a letter from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that the U.S. Department of Agriculture released and was reported by Reuters.
Such a "nationwide shutdown of meat and poultry plants during a furlough of (meat) inspection personnel" could lead to $10 billion in production losses, Vilsack wrote.
Meat and poultry industry groups are alarmed at the prospect, with organizations such as the Poultry Federation and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association sending a letter to Vilsack earlier this month.
Their letter, which asks that the USDA avoid furloughing its inspectors, notes the shutdown would have wide-ranging effects.
"Farmers raising livestock and poultry would have nowhere to send their animals and would have to shoulder substantial losses," it reads. "And, most alarming, American consumers could face their first widespread shortage of meat, poultry, and egg products in generations."
Vilsack didn't say when the furloughs would begin, although he told USDA employees earlier this month they'd get at least 30 days notice, according to Reuters.
Meat production isn't all that would be affected. Other layoffs by the Agriculture Department would mean 600,000 low-income women and infants would be cut from the WIC program, which supplies food and nutritional education, Reuters notes. About 9 million pregnant women, new moms and their children use the program.
The Forest Service would also close 670 of its 19,000 recreation sites, probably during spring and summer, and cut 35 workers from its law enforcement force.
Ooh, no meat due to the Republican Sequester. Those bastards ruin everything! Why do people follow the GOP, whose failed cold war policies overseas have now turned inward, to destroy our own country by de-stabilizing our economy, just because they don't recognize the President elected by a majority wasn't the one the Tea Party wanted? That's pretty un-American, if you ask me. They really should pay even more in the next election!
The Sequester will remove border patrol, remove funding for the VA, remove head-start programs for our kids, remove hundreds of thousands of government employees from all the agencies that test our food, our water, our air, while cutting defense spending, while we are trying to get our troops safely out of Afghanistan. It will cut funding for investments into green technology and upgrades for our power grid, and our internet access to rural areas.
All of these cuts are because Republicans will allow not one loophole for the rich to be even discussed on the floor of the House or Senate. Republicans refuse to allow us to eliminate the assinine Oil Company subsidies, while the Oil Companies hide their profits off-shore, while the GOP will not allow our government to cut the Cayman Island Loophole, allowing our fortune 500 companies to hide their profits there, enabling them to pay zero in taxes one out of every five years!
But cutting funding for our seniors, our sick, our blind, our disabled, our hungry, un-educated children is perfectly fine with the GOP, whose John Boehner works less than 20 hours a week on resolving our nation's problems, and trying to convince us it is because Obama is a bad leader!
Ask yourself this question, "What legislation could President Obama offer the Republican Party that they would agree on?". We all know the answer! There is no legislation they would agree to, just like the last years have shown us. The Republican Party would rather see our nation fail than to allow President Obama to fix what Republicans have done to our nation, for the sake of the greed of the rich! We all know the rich are doing fine! The goal of the Republican Party is to destroy the power of our Middle Class, giving the rich even more power! These GOP puppets must be stopped! They harbor ill will against our founding father's visions of a strong nation, while all the GOP offered us in the last election was a slave labor trader, whose bases in Communist China has cut our American industries to bits!
While the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelsons, Waltons, Duponts, Monsantos all make billions, our workers wages fall further behind the rate of inflation, year after year, at the hands of the Republicans, sponsored by those who do not care about fair wages. The GOP just cares about campaign financing, and have lost all fealty to a nation of equal men and women gaining access to a fair share of the wealth in the richest nation upon this earth!
Wake Up, America! We cannot allow the GOP to ruin our forests, our aquifirs, and our skies, without protecting our wildlife and our access to clean air! The XL pipeline gives America nothing! The shale tars emit many times more carbons into the atmosphere than coal does! The refined oil never benefits America at all because it is pumped directly to the Koch Brother refineries in the Gulf, where the refined products are sold on the world market, where Amercans have to compete for it, while Wall Street will always be able to speculate and keep our prices high, and with too few refineries to actually produce enough to supply our nation with ample fuel, it shall never cost less.
This is nothing to joke about. Shutting down the meat industry for 2 weeks could weaken it enough to cause a complete collapse. Debt is real. Even more so if you are industial and have thousands of employees to pay and massive loan positions like much of the industry. We could lose major players for good in that short amount of time.
Oh no, now we've done it.
We pissed off the Agriculture department with budget cuts and their gonna take away our meat.
You can thank the weasels on both sides of the isle. Their spending on pet projects along with our government not operating like a business for years is catching up.
Federal gov't spending is out of control.
Give me a copy of the budget and a red marker I am sure their is 20% of the spending that goes towards absolute ****.
"...would keep meat inspection personnel from going to work for as many as 15 days,"
"Farmers raising livestock and poultry would have nowhere to send their animals and would have to shoulder substantial losses,"
Any farmer who cant keep animals alive an additional 15 days need to go out of business!!
Yep, March 1 is just 8 days away...I can hear the old theme from the cop drama, "Dragnet"....."Dom, de, dom, dom, DOM!" ...This is Los Angeles, 800 square miles, my boss is Capt. Slawson, homicide. The GOP, incl. the saturnine, gloomy Rep. Boehner and his fellow Obama hater, the owlish, funereal Sen. McConnell (go Ms. Judd in Kentucky!) will take the gaff on the so called mass firing starting on the first of March. Yes, I've never been in lockstep with every Demo prez and their policies, and that includes Obama. He should have put forth his jobs plan over Labor Day, 2009, not in 2011, for example. Pull out of that graveyard of empires, Afghanistan by next June, not at the end of '14.....
there were fewer than 88 meat inspectors (including the clerical staff) for every 1 billion pounds of meat sold in the US and that was in 2007 I am sure the number is fewer now.
So taking the number of meat inspectors from 88 per 1 billion to 80 inspectors would not be a crisis as we are already having a crisis.
No wonder we can food poisoning stories every month no one is watching the industry.
understand if the inspectors see feces in the meat processing plant going into the meat itself they are not allowed to report it and nothing gets done.
Totally gross -- how do the Hebrew people eat meat??? surely nothing they buy at the normal stores is approved.
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