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March 7, 2013

Sequester meat shortages months away, says USDA Secretary

The sequester likely won’t cause meat and poultry shortages for a while-thanks, in part, to union negotiations and USDA inspectors’ lack of email access. Furloughs to Food Safety and Inspection Service inspectors at the U.S. Department of Agriculture could force meat and poultry plants to stop production-with no inspectors to approve products, they can’t be sold-but today Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the House Agriculture Committee that those furloughs probably won’t happen until later this year. "We are looking at a several-month period, if you will, before a furlough will be imposed," Vilsack said, depending on negotiations with the inspectors’ union. A drawn-out notification process will prevent the furloughs from happening right away, Vilsack said. Read More

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