National Spending Cuts Would Affect Meat Inspectors

By: Carly Stephenson Email
By: Carly Stephenson Email

HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Automatic spending cuts that will go into play across the board include furloughing food inspectors, which would affect plants in the Valley.

The vice president of the American Meat Institute Mark dopp said that without meat inspectors, plants simply can't run.

On behalf of Cargill, as well as other plants across the country, the president of AMI wrote a letter directly to President Barack Obama.

In the letter, Dopp asks that the President not furlough the inspectors.

The president of the institute writes that it would cause major production losses and lost wages.

The letter also notes that furloughing meat inspectors for two to three weeks would disrupt the supply chain.

In other words, livestock producers couldn't sell their animals to grocery stores or restaurants.

Another letter to the Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack states that because meat and poultry inspection are required by law, the government has to provide these services.

Dopp said that if cuts occur, other workers can be chosen that are not so essential for daily production.

"If furloughs have to occur they should be thinking or examining ways to furlough people who are not necessary for plants to operate. There are many, many people for example who work in Washington, D.C. And they're good people, I know many of them, but it would make more sense to furlough a lot of those people ahead of the inspectors and the facilities so the facilities can continue to operate," Dopp said.

The cuts would affect at least 500,000 federal workers.

An employee with Cargill's public relations department said they don't want to speculate right now.

He did say that cuts have been mentioned before, but they have not ended up going through. Dopp said that cuts have not included meat inspectors until now.

Before, he says the government had deemed them essential.


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