FEBRUARY 25, 2013 - ARLINGTON, VA - Food Marketing Institute (FMI) signed a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, encouraging the USDA to examine all options available to meet its obligations under sequestration without cutting an essential, legally mandated program such as food safety inspection. Since U.S. meat, poultry and egg products facilities are required to have continuous food safety inspection overseen by USDA under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, Poultry Products Inspection Act, and Egg Products Inspection Act, federally-inspected facilities would be prohibited from operating if Food Safety and Inspection Service’s inspectors are furloughed. The furlough would impact FMI members with USDA-inspected facilities, ranging from central kitchens to production plants for private label products. 

FMI Vice President of Food Safety Programs Hilary Thesmar, PhD, RD, said, “Food safety protection is repeatedly listed by FMI members’ as their top priority, and federal meat, poultry and egg products’ inspections are a common and critical priority for the federal government, the food supply chain and the public interest. We hope that potential furloughs of federal food safety inspectors is considered ‘off the table’ by the Administration and Congress as it considers sequestration.”