Meat&Poultry - March 2013 - (Page 14)

Washington BY BERNARD SHIRE Consequences of inspection cuts else, will blame the other side for the operation of the industry, but to ensure situation. Each party has said that if the the health of the American public. Meat massive across-the-board cuts in federal and poultry can’t be made or sold with- spending occur, there will be a huge neg- out government inspection, because that ative effect on the American economy, inspection ensures the food products are which continues to struggle to shake off safe for the public to buy and consume. the recession, and that President Obama, If that doesn’t happen, there is the pos- or the GOP-led House of Representatives, sibility of foodborne illness taking place. depending on your viewpoint, will be held responsible. By the time you read this, the seques- I t seems like day by day America’s tration debate may well have been re- government is becoming less able solved. Either the sequestration will have to operate in a cohesive manner. gone forward, with massive across-the- The “sequestration”, that odd word board federal spending cuts taking place, being used to describe massive federal or the threat will have been resolved, government funding cuts in government with no required, automatic cuts at all. services being threatened, point more and But in a sense, that doesn’t matter. more to the wrong direction we seem to Because there’s another issue here – the be heading – and then some. The issue itself centers on what government services are necessary and what services can be dispensed with for a period of time. question of why the idea of sequestration So, meat and poultry inspection, As usual here in Washington, the is- was raised to begin with. And particu- most people agree, is one of those gov- sue has become greatly embroiled in poli- larly, why the Obama Administration ernment services that can’t be postponed tics. President Obama is suggesting this and US Dept. of Agriculture raised the or stopped for a while because to do so sequestration, or cutbacks in federal gov- threat of furloughs of meat and poultry would have massive negative effects, ernment funding and programs, be de- inspectors as part of this government- not only on life in this country, but on layed until the end of the year. The meat spending cutback. American public health. and poultry industry said government is This political gamesmanship really There are other government servic- obliged to provide inspection services goes beyond the idea of FSIS inspec- es that also fall in this category, such as because the industry can’t operate and tor furloughs shutting down the meat defense. That’s where meat and poultry produce food for the American people and poultry slaughter and processing in- inspection rank in importance in this without the inspection services provid- dustries. The issue itself also centers on country. For anyone in the government to ed by the government. So, if that were to what government services are necessary threaten furloughing of meat and poultry happen, the American poultry and meat and what services can be dispensed with inspectors is an action verging on irre- industry would be forced to close, result- for a period of time. There is no doubt sponsibility, cheap politics and a disre- ing in layoffs and great unemployment USDA poultry and meat inspection falls gard for one of government’s most impor- in the industry. into the category of a government service tant duties – protecting public health. ■ The Democrats and Republicans have blamed each other for the situation, each for any period of time. Food inspection, thinking the American public, being in- including meat and poultry inspection, terested more in results than anything 14 that is critical and cannot be eliminated are necessary not only for the continued • Meat&Poultry • March 2013 • Bernard Shire, based in Lancaster, Pa., is a contributing editor and M&P’s Washington correspondent. Shire also works as a foodsafety consultant for Shire & Associates LLC.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat&Poultry - March 2013

Meat&Poultry - March 2013
Table of Contents
Commentary - Food-safety déjà vu
Business Notes - Vilsack details sequester impact on meat industry
More horse meat detected in European products
Smithfield, Kansas City Sausage form jv
Tyson addresses plant closure, acquisitions
Sanderson to build poultry complex in Texas
USDA expected to OK horse-slaughter plant
Washington - Consequences of inspection cuts
Top 100 - This year's Top 100 ranking reflects the industry's evolution during challenging times
Corporate Citizenship - Sustainability-driven
Small Business Matters - Aiming to please
Ingredient Solutions - Accent on adventure
Pork Processing - Hog ties
Tools of the Trade - Cool Birds
Packaging Solutions - MAP mindsets
Show Preview - Worldwide welcome
From the Corral - Slow and steady improvements
Names in the News
New Product Showcase
Classified Advertising
The Insider

Meat&Poultry - March 2013