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.
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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