|Will there be a meat shortage?|
Some details shedding light on how the sequester will affect the meat industry have been reported. In various articles this morning, Agriculture Undersecretary Elizabeth Hagen outlines how the furloughs will be implemented and during what time frame. You can read the two of the articles I read for the full story but here are the highlights:
As detailed by The Hagstrom Report, Hagen also told the committee that:
furlough days, scheduled from July to Sept. 20, will be for no more
than one day a week and no more than two days per pay period.
- FSIS has decided the fairest plan for the nation’s meat industry is a uniform national schedule.
- FSIS will likely take a total cut of $52.8 million or 5 percent of its budget.
- Furloughs will be required of all 9,212 employees of the FSIS,
including 8,136 meat inspectors and others on the front line such as lab
Let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief that the days aren’t consecutive and it’s only 11 days and not more. Although, this article states that since some inspectors will be forced to take the same days off, there is still the
possibility of shutting down the U.S. meat industry on those dates. But let’s hope it doesn’t get that bad.
Just as a refresher, this furlough is significant because meat plants CANNOT operate without federal inspectors present. It’s illegal and would be a serious threat to food safety. For more info on how exactly federal inspectors regulate meat plant operations, you can read this about the Federal Meat Inspection Act.
What do you think of the decision handed down?
Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~