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Government Shutdown Looms, Inspectors Deemed Essential

Monday, September 30, 2013

(American Meat Institute)

The U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday night passed a Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government until December 15, 2013.  That measure also includes a provision that would delay Obamacare for one year.  Senate Democrats have stated they will not support the healthcare delay.  This stalemate makes a government shutdown more likely as Congress only has until midnight tonight to pass an extension of government funding.Given the possibility of a federal government shutdown, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) posted on its website its plans in the event the federal government is shut down due to a lapse in funding.     

As has historically been the case and as Under Secretary Hagen stated at last week's AMI Board of Directors' meetings, meat and poultry inspection services will be provided even if the federal government is shut down.  Included in the USDA link are plans specific to the Food Safety and Inspection Service.  Specifically, the FSIS instructions provide the following.

Field inspection of meat, poultry and egg products: The following direct field staff functions will be performed to ensure the safety of human life for the duration of a government shutdown:  

1.    Inspecting before and after slaughter those birds and animals intended for use as food for humans and supervising the further processing of meat and poultry products.

2.    Ensuring that meat, poultry, and egg products are safe and preventing the movement or sale in commerce of any meat or poultry products which are adulterated.

3.    Applying foreign governments' inspection requirements and procedures to verify that products exported from the United States are safe.

4.    Conducting emergency operations in connection with the voluntary recall of meat or poultry products contaminated with drug or chemical residues, other adulterants, or microbial contamination.

5.    Conducting epidemiological investigations based on reports of food-borne health hazards and disease outbreaks.

6.    Monitoring allied industries to prevent uninspected or adulterated meat, poultry and egg products from illegally entering channels of commerce.

7.    Providing pathological, microbiological, chemical, and other scientific examination of meat, poultry and egg products for disease, infection, contamination, or other types of adulteration.

8.    Conducting a microbiological monitoring and surveillance program.


In addition, some senior management and other offices will be staffed as necessary to support those operations listed above.  

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