AMI Has Concerns of Possible Furlough Meat Inspectors

AMI Has Concerns of Possible Furlough Meat Inspectors

AMI Has Concerns of Possible Furlough of Meat Inspectors

I’m KayDee Gilkey with today’s Open Range.

The U.S. Meat industry is very concerned over the possibility of stoppage of production at packing plants across the country following failure to solve the sequester problem. American Meat Institute’s Janet Riley says USDA has the ability and duty to make cuts without ceasing inspections.

Riley: “What is unfortunate, we believe is that USDA has the discretion to make cuts in a way that would not cause furloughs for meat inspectors and it would not disrupt meat or poultry production in the United States. We think that they need to exercise that discretion. They have a federal mandate to provide inspection in our plants.”

Riley says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is notifying the inspector’s union soon under their collective bargaining agreement of their intention to furlough inspectors. She says the detrimental effects of ceasing inspections hits many people very hard.

Riley: “It’s not just about the meat companies themselves, if you pull inspectors out of plants we can’t produce meat because we can’t operate without inspectors present. So you going to reduce production in this country, and that is going to reduce supply and could potentially increase costs as well. Meanwhile you have people who are getting lower wages and that impacts communities.”

Riley says sequester has already impacted air traffic controllers at smaller airports. She says at some - planes have been able to land without an inspector in the control tower. She says with the meat industry however - they can’t operate without inspectors on the job 

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