July 23, 2024

Congress Acts To Avoid Meat Inspector Furloughs

Congress has acted to avoid the furlough of U.S. meat inspectors this summer by approving a $55 million shift in funding for the  U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Without that action, the USDA would have had to schedule furloughs for all meat inspectors beginning in mid-July. Under federal law, plants that process meat, poultry and eggs cannot operate without the presence of federal inspectors. A 15-day nationwide shutdown of meat and poultry plants would cost the industry more than $10 billion and industry workers more than $400 million in wages, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski in February. Senators Mark  Pryor (D-AR),  Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Chris Coons (D-DE) drafted the Senate version of the … [Read more...]

Sequestration Could Jeopardize Clean Water

Food & Water Watch has released a statement commenting on the sequestration battle in Washington. Food Poisoning Bulletin has already told you about the effects those mandatory budget cuts may have on food safety by cutting the hours of USDA inspectors. Sequestration will also affect the State Revolving Funds, which supports communities' drinking and wastewater systems. Those municipal water supplies are already underfunded by $30 billion a year. Executive Director Wenonah Hauter said, "while it is outrageous enough that Congress would have the audacity to play chicken with some of our most essential resources, the consequences of inadequate funding for our essential drinking and wastewater systems would be nothing short of tragic. Perhaps the policymakers currently locking … [Read more...]

Vilsack: US Ag Faces Man-Made Challenges

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary (USDA) Tom Vilsack says U.S. agriculture currently faces four major man-made challenges: the sequester, the lack of a farm bill, immigration problems and trade barriers. Vilsack spoke about those challenges in his keynote address to Ag Outlook Conference on February 21. The sequester triggers cuts to every line item of USDA’s budget and it will impact people who work on USDA’s food safety efforts, Vilsack said. “Every line item, virtually every line item, of our budget will have to be reduced by a certain percentage, and that percentage could be somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 to 6 percent. And that's an annual percentage, which means we have to implement this reduction in the remaining portion of the fiscal year, which will be approximately 6 … [Read more...]

Secretary Vilsack Responds to Cattlemen About Sequester Effects

Last week Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated in a press conference that sequestration could lead to temporary layoffs of federal meat inspectors. That action would stop meat and poultry processing in this country for that time period. The meat industry responded to this statement by arguing that the USDA is "legally obligated" to provide inspectors at meat plants. National Cattlemen's Beef Association president Scott George said in a statement, "while we are certain the USDA contains other 'non-essential' employees, the Secretary has chosen to announce the consequences of sequestration in terms of a furlough of FSIS inspectors, essentially threatening to close down all production, processing and interstate distribution of meat. This action has already cost cattle producers … [Read more...]

Vilsack and OMB Say Sequestration Threatens Food Safety

On February 8, 2013, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said that sequestration will affect the nation's food safety. If Congress fails to act, on March 1, 2013 budget cuts go into effect across the board in the United States. "Across-the-board cuts for virtually every agency, every line item of every agency," will occur, he stated. "The effects will be extraordinary." He continued, "it is likely, if sequester is triggered, that in our food safety area we will have to furlough workers for a period of a couple of weeks. Now you say, well, you know, everybody gets a couple weeks' vacation. The problem is, as soon as you take an inspector off the floor, that plant shuts down, so it's not just the inspectors, it's the hundreds of thousands of people who are in the processing business. … [Read more...]

OMB Releases Report on Effects of Sequestration

On Friday September 14, 2012, the White House Office of Budget and Management (OMB) released a report on the possible effects of sequestration on food safety, Medicare, FBI, FAA, and education. Sequestration is the across-the-board cuts that will kick in if Congress does not pass a deficit reduction bill by early January 2013. The cuts are part of the Budget Control Act of 2011 that was signed into law after the debt ceiling crisis in August 2011. The White House states that "the sequestration itself was never intended to be implemented." It was supposed to be a way to prod Congress into action. While there is still time for Congress to put a plan in place, House Republicans announced last week that the House will be in recess until November 13, 2012. The report states that, "no … [Read more...]

Report Your Food Poisoning Case

Error: Contact form not found.


Home About Site Map Contact Us Sponsored by Pritzker Hageman, P.A., a Minneapolis, MN law firm that helps food poisoning victims nationally.