USDA outlines plans for meat inspector furloughs

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Details for planned furloughs of inspectors at meatpacking plants are becoming more clear. USDA previously announced the mandatory unpaid days off would be necessary due to the budget cuts mandated under the “sequestration” that took effect on March 1.

According to a Reuters article, Agriculture Undersecretary Elizabeth Hagen told a House Appropriations subcommittee the furloughs will begin in mid-July. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will select 11 days from July through September on which to furlough all 9,212 U.S. meat safety workers, including over 8,000 front-line workers such as in-plant inspectors. The agency plans to spread the furlough days out so there will not be any consecutive days of work stoppage at the plants.

Most packing plants need the FSIS inspectors to operate, and the furloughs will disrupt meat production somewhat, although USDA says it is trying to minimize the impacts.



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steve    
Montana  |  March, 14, 2013 at 09:16 AM

Pure political vindictiveness. $M's of $ can be spent on sage grouse but can't send a carrier to the middle east.

pepper's dad    
texas panhandle  |  March, 14, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Amen on the sage grouse and the prairie chicken. Better yet, let's cut the food stamp program and leave the inspectors alone!

Michael J. Marsalek    
Bel Air, Maryland  |  March, 14, 2013 at 10:01 AM

It is the responsibility of the federal government to protect & insure the nation's food supply no matter what. It's very clear that ( acting ) president Obama is determined to inflict as much pain & suffering on the American people as is humanly possible. It is critically important that all of the American people know that closing down the White House tours and furloughing food/meat inspectors is completely unnecessary. In the meantime, if Obama insists on inspector furloughs, then the inspections should be suspended & waived as necessary so as not to disrupt the food supply.

bob    
iowa  |  March, 14, 2013 at 10:22 AM

there is pretty much a USDA office in every county in the nation, So if they laid off an extra worker or two it would save more than laying off food inspectors. It would not affect public safety either. However the general public would feel no pain and this sequester needs to be painful to fulfill the presidents agenda. That is all that is behind this, if the country does not feel the pain they will realize it was mostly hogwash. After all it was not about cutting programs only reducing the proposed increases. The government spends more money than last year, but apparently the sky falls if it cannot spend all it wants to.

Amanda    
NC  |  March, 14, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Agree with y'all wholeheartedly, if we have less meat rolling out of the processors those food stamps aren't going to be much good any way. Politics, pure and simple. Ask the average household to cut 2% from their budget or they lose a car -- they'll find a way to make it happen.

Rick    
March, 14, 2013 at 01:40 PM

Wait, Why is it just Obama's fault. Yes, the administration is playing politics but the Republicans are equally as adamant about cutting the budgets. And remember, Food Stamps is $45 billion dollars of food purchases not clothes, or movie tickets or cigarettes. Granted food stamps aren't very efficient because 80% of every food dollar goes to the middlemen but I guarantee that the food farmers would notice it if those poor women didn't have food stamps with which to buy food. Let's face it, that $45 billion dollars is a direct subsidy to you food farmers not the military industrial complex. Besides the inspector furloughs should fit nicely with the lack of cattle to slaughter so no real harm done, In fact it might actually work out to save everybody some money.

Rick    
March, 14, 2013 at 01:40 PM

Wait, Why is it just Obama's fault. Yes, the administration is playing politics but the Republicans are equally as adamant about cutting the budgets. And remember, Food Stamps is $45 billion dollars of food purchases not clothes, or movie tickets or cigarettes. Granted food stamps aren't very efficient because 80% of every food dollar goes to the middlemen but I guarantee that the food farmers would notice it if those poor women didn't have food stamps with which to buy food. Let's face it, that $45 billion dollars is a direct subsidy to you food farmers not the military industrial complex. Besides the inspector furloughs should fit nicely with the lack of cattle to slaughter so no real harm done, In fact it might actually work out to save everybody some money.

James    
USA  |  March, 14, 2013 at 06:16 PM

Food for thought: 1. Federal regulations need a fail safe so that when there is no money, business can continue to operate without meat inspectors temporarily, say four years, which is the standard length of time for a temoprary tax. 2. A public official who pushes collectivism, nationalism, communism or environmentalism may very well be violating that person's oath of office to protect and defend the US Constitution, our individualist constitution that prioritizes the individual over the collective, the nation, the commune and the environment which includes Marxist veganism.

Craig A Moore    
Billings, MT  |  March, 15, 2013 at 09:23 AM

Rick First of food stamps are at 75 billion a year and not 45. In less than 10 years SNAP went from 17 billion to 75 and growing. Food stamps are inefficient because in at least 13 states they can be used at fast food restraunts and in all the rest they can buy all the pop, doughnuts and micro-wave dinners the recipients want to buy. Food stamps have been taken off the cut list by Obama because he refuses to cause them people concers. But WIC, which lists what a mother can buy for her kids, IS on the cut list. THAT IS Obama's fault.

Jeannie    
March, 15, 2013 at 03:36 PM

That makes no sense, they cut WIC which is limited to food staples but not the EBT card which has been used for fast food, nail salons, tattoo parlors, Disney resorts, cigarettes, etc. I do not understand why those living on my tax money can have so much free spending while I am saving bottles and cans because my taxes and expenses keep increasing but my pay does not. I am sick of this. The hard working people of this country have had enough. Why are we busting our butts while others are lounging around reaping the rewards of our hard work? I cancelled home internet, home phone, went to basic cable and now welfare recipients have better amenities than my family.


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