USDA’s Food Safety Inspectors Working During Shutdown
While Congress and President Trump are trying to figure out how to agree on a budget, some of the USDA employees are still on the job during the Government Shutdown. I have written about how most County Farm Service Agency offices in Minnesota will run out of funding today and will be closed until the budget issues are resolved. Many people are concerned about the USDA's responsibility with food safety.
USDA food safety inspectors are considered "essential employees." That means food safety inspectors are on the job as usual checking meat, poultry and egg products. The USDA said "nearly ninety present of the Food Safety and Inspection Service's 9,500 employees are on the job. Meat processing plants must have a USDA Inspector in the plant before it can operate! That is the law.
Nearly seventy percent of the forest services 33,000 employees will continue to maintain safety at the nations forests. About ninety percent of agricultural Marketing service employees are continuing their grading and inspection services and procuring commodities for nutrition assistance programs. In addition more than sixty percent of Animal Plant Health Inspection Service employees are working inspecting fruits, vegetables and birds at our boarders and quarantine facilities.
I have heard that about 75 percent of the Federal Government is funded and operating normally. That likely means most citizens will not be greatly affected by the partial Federal Government shutdown. On the other hand, you have to "feel" for the thousands of Federal Government employees that are not working. While they may enjoy some extra time off during the holidays, they do not know when they are going to get paid again either.