More information has been released about possible furloughs for USDA Food Safety Inspection Service meat inspections, according to to the Beltway Beef Newsletter published by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
The furloughs would be necessary as part of budget cuts due to sequestration.
During a House Agriculture Committee hearing, USDA Under Secretary of Food Safety Elisabeth Hagen said the proposed plan includes 11 furlough days, no more than one day a week and no more than two days per pay period, scheduled from July to September, according to the newsletter. Furloughs will be required of all 9,212 inspection service employees, including 8,136 meat inspectors and lab technicians. The inspection service will likely take a total cut of $52.8 million or 5 percent of its budget, Hagen said.
Northern Beef Packers, which has Food Safety Inspection Service inspectors on site, could be affected by furloughs.