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AGRIBUSINESS: Fewer Inspectors, Faster Inspections Proposed By USDA

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On Friday, a poultry inspection proposal hit the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture; in it, USDA is attempting to implement a system which would some current responsibilities of Food Safety Inspection Service inspectors in the hands of company employees.

FSIS inspectors would instead focus on other yet-undetermined tasks deemed more important by USDA. The proposal also uses fewer inspectors overall, and increases the speed the birds move past the inspectors.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the increased efficiency of the new system allowed the Administration to cut funding, but Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro is disappointed in cut to FSIS funding.

She says FSIS is already underfunded, and has an important role in public health. DeLauro does agree that FSIS has structural problems, but does not think cutting inspectors and resources is the answer.