Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Austerity Today: Food Inspections

Tuesday morning, the US Department of Agriculture announced the closure of hundreds of offices nationwide, including the Food Safety and Inspection Service office in Minneapolis. From Fox News:
Other parts of the announcement were a surprise. Andrew Lorenz, deputy district manager for the Food Safety and Inspection Service in Minneapolis, learned his office would be closed, along with those in Madison, Wis., and Lawrence, Kan. "They wiped out the entire Midwest," said Lorenz, whose office handles all federal inspections of meat, poultry and egg products in Minnesota, Montana, the Dakotas and Wyoming.
Despite assurances from the USDA that this was only a cut of office and management staff, crazy left-wing groups like the National Cattlemen's Beef Association are concerned:
Colin Woodall, a spokesman for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, which represents more than 147,000 ranchers nationwide, applauded the USDA for trying to save taxpayers' money in tight economic times but also expressed concern about food safety. "We can't say this is all great news because some offices will be closed," he said. "We have to make sure we have the process in place to keep food safe."
How much do you want to bet that the next time there's big E. coli outbreak that the industry blames the cut in the inspection service? I'll bet you $10,000.

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