Big news in the meat world hit this week. In a nutshell, if the USDA follows through with possible budget cuts, there will be no meat inspections taking place for two weeks. This pause on inspections could lead to a major meat and egg shortage across the country.
SupermarketNews.com reported on Thursday that unless Congress can find another solution to their severe spending cuts, a forced furlough will be placed on the Food Safety and Inspection Service. This means no inspectors will be working for 15 days – helping to get the budget back on track but making it impossible to get meat and eggs out to consumers.
It is illegal for federal establishments in the United States to sell meat, poultry or eggs and egg products unless they’ve been inspected. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack wrote a letter to the American Meat Institute (AMI) stating that the furloughs would be a last possible option and wrote that the USDA would have “no choice” if Congress went through with their mandatory budget cuts.
This furlough would lead to many side effects, including loss of production, wages and money. The National Chicken Council wrote a letter to Secretary Vilsack explaining how these possible two weeks of furlough could lead to the first time America has witnessed a widespread meat, poultry and egg shortage in generations.
The meat industry has not taken this news without a fight, according to FoodSafetyNews.com. They have argued the point that the USDA is legally obligated to provide Food Safety and Inspection Service inspectors. The law states plants cannot operate without such inspectors and therefore the industry heads have advised the USDA to furlough other employees to meet the budget demands.
The meat industry isn’t alone in this battle, as it appears the grocery and restaurant industries are joining them as they fight this possible furlough and meat shortage. The 15 days will cost so many so much if the USDA goes through with their proposal.
I guess it’s time to try out a vegan lifestyle! Here are a few dishes to get you started.