FSIS meat inspector furloughs averted for now.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) applauds the action of the House and Senate as the House passed H.R. 933, the continuing resolution which contained a similar amendment to that which passed the Senate. The amendment, authored by Senators Roy Blunt of Missouri and Mark Pryor of Arkansas would shift $55 million from USDA's accounts to pay Food Safety Inspection Service inspectors through Sept. 30, when fiscal year ends.
"This is great news for every segment of American agriculture," says NCBA President Scott George, a cattleman from Cody, WY. "With this shift of finances, Congress was able to avoid the crisis created by the administration and keep FSIS inspectors in the plants where they belong. While cattlemen and women were disappointed Secretary Vilsack threw in the towel on his agency's 107-year-old duty to provide federal food safety inspections, we sincerely thank Senators Blunt and Pryor for ensuring the nation's food supply will not be limited by politics."
Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1906 and related legislation, all meat, poultry and egg products produced in the U.S. or imported must be inspected by a federal food safety inspector and that service must be paid for by the federal government. Without the inspection, no product can be sold or shipped interstate.
"Had inspection been halted, this would have resulted in a backlog of animals, shortened supply of beef to market, higher prices and harm to the futures markets," says George. "By the Secretary's own estimates, this would have equated to $10 billion in production losses and $400 million in lost wages, only compounding the issues faced by ranchers dealing with the worst drought in 50 years."